Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Alfalfa - Medicago sativa   L.
Members of Fabaceae:
Members of Medicago with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Fabales » Family Fabaceae
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DistributionMostly Mountains and Piedmont; scarce in the Coastal Plain.

Native of Europe; in N.A. throughout, except the far north.
AbundanceFrequent, except rare in the Coastal Plain. Commonly cultivated as a crop.
HabitatRoadsides, fields, fallow crop fields, disturbed soil, waste areas, yard weed, etc.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting April-July.
IdentificationAlfalfa is the only one of our medicks that has violet-blue flowers (the rest are yellow). The plants are "bushy-looking" -- multi-stemmed, generally erect, the 3 leaflets relatively narrow and with rounded or short-tapered ends. There are numerous inflorescences scattered around the periphery of each plant. Pods are spirally coiled into 2-3 turns.
Taxonomic Comments
Other Common Name(s)
State RankSE
Global RankGNR
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpUPL link
USACE-empUPL link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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B.A. SorrieCultivated crop, Watford City, ND, July 2020. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
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