Medica denticulata (Willd.) Greene
Medicago apiculate Willd.
Medicago denticulata Willd.
Medicago hispida Gaertn.
Medicago lappacea Desr.
Medicago loretii Albert
Medicago nigra (L.) Krock.
Medicago pentacycla DC.
Medicago polycarpa Godr. & Gren.
Medicago reticulate Benth.
Medicago terebellum Willd.
Medicago tuberculate Urb.
Common Name: Toothed Bur-Clover
Medicago polymorpha is an annual to biennial plant with prostrate to ascending stems that are branched at the base; it can grow 20 - 90cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is cultivated for its edible leaves and medicinal uses in China and Korea[
], and is also used as a green manure.
Medicago polymorpha can become a weed in cultivated land and pasture, especially in Mediterranean climates[
]. The plant has been introduced by human acivity to many parts of the world, from the temperate to the tropical zones. It has often become established and is treated as an invasive weed in countries such as New Zealand, southwestern USA, and several Pacific Islands[
Eurasia - Britain to Spain, east via the Caucasus, Turkey to C. Asia & Afgnanistan; N. Africa - Macaronesia, Morocco to Egypt the Levant and Arabia
Sandy or gravelly soils near the sea in eastern and southern England[
]. Often found in dessert regions, on field borders, fallow fields, waste places, ditches, irrigation channels and roadsides[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Medicago polymorpha is a plant of the temperate to subtropical zones, where it can be found at elevations up to 1,900 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 15 - 25°c, but can tolerate 4 - 30°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 600 - 1,000mm, but tolerates 310 - 1,900mm[
Grows best in a moderately sunny position, disliking deep shade[
]. Prefers a dry circumneutral soil. Prefers a light well-drained, moderately fertile soil[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 - 7, tolerating 5.3 - 8.2[
A very variable plant[
Cultivated for its edible leaves in China[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
]. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.
Leaves and young shoots - raw or cooked as a potherb[
]. Only the young leaves are eaten raw[
]. Plants can be harvested on a cut and come again basis, the first harvest can be made about one month after sowing, plants can then be harvested another 3 - 4 times at intervals of a few weeks[
]. The young leaves contain about 6% protein, 0.14% fat, 9.5% carbohydrate, 1.4% ash. They are rich in vitamins A, C, and E[
Flowers - raw or cooked[
Seed - cooked[
]. The seed can be parched, ground into a powder and mixed with water to make a mush[
]. The brown, kidney-shaped seeds are around 2.5mm x 1mm[
The plant is used medicinally[
]. No more information is given
Used as a green manure, it fixes atmospheric nitrogen[
]. It is sometimes grown as a cover crop in orchards, vineyards and plantations[
]. It is a useful plant for renovating worn out soils, and can be used in mild-winter areas as an autumn sown crop to prevent the erosion of cultivated soils[
Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in spring in situ[
]. The seed can also be sown in situ in the autumn[
The hard-coated seed can be very long-lived, with 200 year old samples found in an arid environment in Mexico being found to be still viable[