Invasive Species Compendium

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Datasheet

Medicago lupulina
(black medick)

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Datasheet

Medicago lupulina (black medick)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 19 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Medicago lupulina
  • Preferred Common Name
  • black medick
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Medicago lupulina is an annual or short-lived perennial herb with a wide native range across Africa, Asia and Europe. It is a common weed in disturbed areas, wastelands, roadsides, abandoned pastures and forest...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Medicago lupulina (black medick); inflorescence and leaves. The Netherlands. August 2010.
TitleInflorescence
CaptionMedicago lupulina (black medick); inflorescence and leaves. The Netherlands. August 2010.
Copyright©Rasbak/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Medicago lupulina (black medick); inflorescence and leaves. The Netherlands. August 2010.
InflorescenceMedicago lupulina (black medick); inflorescence and leaves. The Netherlands. August 2010.©Rasbak/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Medicago lupulina (black medick); habit, scrambling across a gravel pile. West Beach, Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. April 2015.
TitleHabit
CaptionMedicago lupulina (black medick); habit, scrambling across a gravel pile. West Beach, Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. April 2015.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Medicago lupulina (black medick); habit, scrambling across a gravel pile. West Beach, Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. April 2015.
HabitMedicago lupulina (black medick); habit, scrambling across a gravel pile. West Beach, Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. April 2015.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Medicago lupulina (black medick); habit, showing flower, leaves and green seeds. Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June 2008.
TitleHabit
CaptionMedicago lupulina (black medick); habit, showing flower, leaves and green seeds. Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June 2008.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Medicago lupulina (black medick); habit, showing flower, leaves and green seeds. Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June 2008.
HabitMedicago lupulina (black medick); habit, showing flower, leaves and green seeds. Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June 2008.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Medicago lupulina (black medick); habit. The Netherlands. August 2010.
TitleHabit
CaptionMedicago lupulina (black medick); habit. The Netherlands. August 2010.
Copyright©Rasbak/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Medicago lupulina (black medick); habit. The Netherlands. August 2010.
HabitMedicago lupulina (black medick); habit. The Netherlands. August 2010.©Rasbak/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Medicago lupulina (black medick); habit, with seeds. nr. Norwich, Norfolk, UK. August 2017.
TitleHabit
CaptionMedicago lupulina (black medick); habit, with seeds. nr. Norwich, Norfolk, UK. August 2017.
Copyright©Evelyn Simak/via Geograph - CC BY-SA 2.0
Medicago lupulina (black medick); habit, with seeds. nr. Norwich, Norfolk, UK. August 2017.
HabitMedicago lupulina (black medick); habit, with seeds. nr. Norwich, Norfolk, UK. August 2017.©Evelyn Simak/via Geograph - CC BY-SA 2.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Medicago lupulina L.

Preferred Common Name

  • black medick

Other Scientific Names

  • Medica lupulina Scop.
  • Medicago appenina Woods
  • Medicago cupaniana Guss.
  • Medicago wildenowii Merat

International Common Names

  • English: hop-clover; nonesuch; yellow trefoil
  • Spanish: lupulina; mielga azafranada
  • French: lupuline; luzerne lupuline; minette dorée
  • Chinese: tian lan mu xu
  • Portuguese: luzerna-brava; luzerna-lupulina

Local Common Names

  • Dominican Republic: frijolillo; frijolito; habichuelita
  • Estonia: humal-lutsern
  • Georgia (Republic of): sviisebri iondzha
  • Germany: gelbklee; hopfenklee; hopfen-luzerne
  • Lithuania: apynine liucerne
  • Mexico: alfalfilla; carretilla
  • Portugal: alfalfa-lupulina; luzerna-preta; trevo-amarelo
  • Romania: lucherne lupuline
  • Spain: meligón; mielga negra; trébol rastrero; trebolera
  • Ukraine: burkunchik

Summary of Invasiveness

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Medicago lupulina is an annual or short-lived perennial herb with a wide native range across Africa, Asia and Europe. It is a common weed in disturbed areas, wastelands, roadsides, abandoned pastures and forest margins. It is a nitrogen-fixing species cultivated for forage and used as a soil improver; it is also a seed contaminant of other crops. Currently, it is listed as invasive in the Philippines, Hawaii, New Zealand and a small number of islands in Oceania. However, there is limited information available about its environmental impact in these locations.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Fabales
  •                         Family: Fabaceae
  •                             Subfamily: Faboideae
  •                                 Genus: Medicago
  •                                     Species: Medicago lupulina

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Fabaceae is one of the largest families of flowering plants, and includes about 745 genera and 19,500 species growing in a wide range of climates and habitats (Stevens, 2012). The genus Medicago comprises more than 88 species of both annuals and perennials (The Plant List, 2013). The primary centre of diversity for this genus is located in the Caucasus, northwestern Iran and northeastern Turkey. The most well-known species within this genus is M. sativa (alfalfa), an important forage crop cultivated worldwide. Most members of the genus are creeping herbs, but some are shrubs and trees (Quiros and Bauchan, 1988).

Description

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The following description is from the Flora of China Editorial Committee (2017):

Annual or short-lived perennial herbs, 15-60 cm height, glabrescent to pubescent, sometimes glandular. Stems decumbent, prostrate or ascending, much branched. Stipules ovate-lanceolate, to 10 mm, entire or toothed, base rounded or hastate, apex acuminate; petiole 1-2 cm; leaflets elliptic, ovate, or obovate, 5-20 x 4-6 mm, papery, pubescent, lateral veins to 10 pairs, base cuneate, margin distally obscurely serrate, apex truncate or retuse, apiculate. Flowers 10-20 in small heads; peduncles slender, straight, longer than subtending leaves, glabrate to densely appressed pubescent; bracts bristlelike, minute; pedicel less than 1 mm. Calyx 2 mm, glabrate to densely hairy. Corolla yellow, 2-2.2 mm; standard suborbicular, apex retuse, longer than wings and keel. Legume reniform, 3 x 2 mm, sculptured with concentric arcuate veins, sparsely hairy, black when ripe, one seeded, seed is brown, ovoid and smooth.

Plant Type

Top of page Annual
Broadleaved
Herbaceous
Perennial
Seed propagated

Distribution

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M. lupulina has a wide native range across northern Africa, temperate and subtropical Asia and Europe (USDA-ARS, 2017). It has also been widely introduced and occurs in North America, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Central and East Asia, South Africa, Oceania and some parts of Europe (ILDIS, 2017; USDA-ARS, 2017USDA-NRCS, 2017). It is listed as an invasive species in the Philippines, Hawaii, New Zealand and on a small number of islands in Oceania (PIER, 2017). According to NOBANIS (2017), M. lupulina is considered native to Finland and Sweden according to USDA-ARS (2017), although elsewhere it is listed as introduced in these countries (NOBANIS, 2017).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

AlgeriaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
EgyptPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
EthiopiaPresentILDIS (2017)
KenyaPresentILDIS (2017)
LibyaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
MauritiusPresentILDIS (2017)
MoroccoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017); ILDIS (2017)
SomaliaPresentILDIS (2017)
South AfricaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedUSDA-ARS (2017)Naturalized
TanzaniaPresentILDIS (2017)
TunisiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)

Asia

AfghanistanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
ArmeniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
AzerbaijanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
ChinaPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee (2017)
GeorgiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
IndiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
-BiharPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
-DelhiPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
-GujaratPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
-HaryanaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
-Himachal PradeshPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
-Jammu and KashmirPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
-Madhya PradeshPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
-PunjabPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
-RajasthanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
-Uttar PradeshPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
-West BengalPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
IranPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
IraqPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
IsraelPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
JapanPresentIntroducedNaturalizedUSDA-ARS (2017)Naturalized
-Bonin IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)
KazakhstanPresentIntroducedNaturalizedUSDA-ARS (2017)Naturalized
KyrgyzstanPresentIntroducedNaturalizedUSDA-ARS (2017)Naturalized
LebanonPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
MongoliaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedUSDA-ARS (2017)Naturalized
NepalPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
North KoreaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
PakistanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2017)
Saudi ArabiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
South KoreaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
SyriaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
TaiwanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
TajikistanPresentIntroducedNaturalizedUSDA-ARS (2017)Naturalized
TurkeyPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
TurkmenistanPresentIntroducedNaturalizedUSDA-ARS (2017)Naturalized
UzbekistanPresentIntroducedNaturalizedUSDA-ARS (2017)Naturalized
YemenPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)

Europe

AlbaniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
AustriaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
BelarusPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
BelgiumPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
BulgariaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
CyprusPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
CzechoslovakiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
Federal Republic of YugoslaviaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
DenmarkPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
EstoniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
FinlandPresentNative and IntroducedNOBANIS (2017); USDA-ARS (2017)Considered both native and introduced in the country
FrancePresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
GermanyPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
GreecePresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
HungaryPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
IcelandPresentIntroduced1874NOBANIS (2017)Rare
IrelandPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
ItalyPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
LatviaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
LithuaniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
NetherlandsPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
NorwayPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
PolandPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
PortugalPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
-AzoresPresentIntroducedNaturalizedUSDA-ARS (2017)Naturalized
-MadeiraPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
RomaniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
RussiaPresentNative and IntroducedCABI (Undated)Considered both native and introduced in the country
-Central RussiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
-Eastern SiberiaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedUSDA-ARS (2017)Naturalized
-Russian Far EastPresentIntroducedNaturalizedUSDA-ARS (2017)Naturalized
-Southern RussiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
-Western SiberiaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedUSDA-ARS (2017)Naturalized
Serbia and MontenegroPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
SpainPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
-Canary IslandsPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
SwedenPresentNative and IntroducedNOBANIS (2017); USDA-ARS (2017)Considered both native and introduced in the country
SwitzerlandPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
UkrainePresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
United KingdomPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)

North America

BahamasPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
CanadaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedUSDA-ARS (2017)Naturalized
-AlbertaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-British ColumbiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-ManitobaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-New BrunswickPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-Newfoundland and LabradorPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-Northwest TerritoriesPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-Nova ScotiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-OntarioPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-Prince Edward IslandPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-QuebecPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-SaskatchewanPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
CubaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedMir (2012); Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Possible invasive
GreenlandPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
GuatemalaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS (2017)Adventive
HaitiPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
MexicoPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS (2017); Vibrans (2009)Adventive
Saint Pierre and MiquelonPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
United StatesPresentIntroducedNaturalizedUSDA-ARS (2017)Naturalized
-AlabamaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-AlaskaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-ArizonaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-ArkansasPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-CaliforniaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-ColoradoPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-ConnecticutPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-DelawarePresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-District of ColumbiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-FloridaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-GeorgiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedInvasiveWagner et al. (1999)
-IdahoPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-IllinoisPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-IndianaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-IowaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-KansasPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-KentuckyPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-LouisianaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-MainePresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-MarylandPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-MassachusettsPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-MichiganPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-MinnesotaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-MississippiPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-MissouriPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-MontanaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-NebraskaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-NevadaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-New HampshirePresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-New JerseyPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-New MexicoPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-New YorkPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-North CarolinaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-North DakotaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-OhioPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-OklahomaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-OregonPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-PennsylvaniaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-Rhode IslandPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-South CarolinaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-South DakotaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-TennesseePresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-TexasPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-UtahPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-VermontPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-WashingtonPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-West VirginiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-WisconsinPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)
-WyomingPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2017)

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedUSDA-ARS (2017); ILDIS (2017)Naturalized
-Lord Howe IslandPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2017)
-New South WalesPresentIntroducedILDIS (2017)
-QueenslandPresentIntroducedILDIS (2017)
-South AustraliaPresentIntroducedILDIS (2017)
-TasmaniaPresentIntroducedILDIS (2017)
-VictoriaPresentIntroducedILDIS (2017)
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroducedILDIS (2017)
New ZealandPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2017); USDA-ARS (2017)
Norfolk IslandPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2017)Also cultivated
TongaPresentPIER (2017)
U.S. Minor Outlying IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2017)

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedUSDA-ARS (2017)Naturalized
BrazilPresentIntroducedNaturalizedUSDA-ARS (2017)Naturalized
ChilePresentIntroducedNaturalizedUSDA-ARS (2017)Naturalized
EcuadorPresentIntroducedNaturalizedUSDA-ARS (2017); Jorgensen and Ulloa U (1994)Naturalized
PeruPresentIntroducedNaturalizedUSDA-ARS (2017)Naturalized
UruguayPresentIntroducedNaturalizedUSDA-ARS (2017)Naturalized

History of Introduction and Spread

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M. lupulina was introduced from Eurasia into North America for use as a forage plant for livestock and as a soil improver. It was probably also introduced unintentionally as a contaminant among seeds of other crops. By 1792, it was harvested in Canada and, by 1821, it was recorded as naturalized in Montreal (Turkington and Cavers, 1979). In 1874 it was introduced to Iceland, where it remains rare and has not become established (NOBANIS, 2017).

Habitat

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M. lupulina grows in wastelands, forest margins, fields, and along riverbanks and roadsides (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2017). This species also grows in waterlogged areas such as marshes, bogs, watercourses and lake and river shores (Belov, 2013).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial

Hosts/Species Affected

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M. lupulina is listed as an agricultural weed of alfalfa, maize plantations and apple orchards (Vibrans, 2009).

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Malus domestica (apple)RosaceaeMain
Medicago sativa (lucerne)FabaceaeMain
Zea mays (maize)PoaceaeMain

Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Vegetative growing stage

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number reported for M. lupulina varies from 2n = 16 to 2n = 32 (Turkington and Cavers, 1979; Quiros and Bauchan, 1988).

Reproductive Biology

M. lupulina has hermaphroditic flowers and a mixed breeding system, varying from complete self-pollination to extensive outcrossing (Turkington and Cavers, 1979). The nectar and pollen of its flowers attract various insects, particularly bees (i.e. Apis, Bombus and Halictid bees), but also butterflies and flies (PFAF, 2017).

Physiology and Phenology

In North America, seedlings of M. lupulina often appear in spring and plants will flower within six weeks after emergence. Under favourable conditions, seeds are produced after nine weeks and vigorous plants are able to continue producing seeds throughout the growing season. In most habitats the majority of plants die during the winter and seeds remain dormant until spring (Turkington and Cavers, 1979).

In China, M. lupulina produces flowers from April to September (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2017). Similarly, in Canada, it flowers between April and October (Turkington and Cavers, 1979). In Pakistan, plants produce flowers from March to June (Flora of Pakistan, 2017).

Associations

Similar to other Fabaceae species, rhizobia bacteria are found in nodules on the roots of M. lupulina, which allow the plant to fix nitrogen (PFAF, 2017).

Environmental Requirements

M. lupulina thrives in moist habitats with full to partial sunlight at elevations from sea level to 2800 m. It has the potential to grow in a wide range of soil types including calcareous and dry soils, sandy soils, loams, clay-loams and gravel soils with pH ranging from 4.8 to 7.8 (Turkington and Cavers, 1979; PIER, 2017). Plants generally do not survive dry periods of longer than one month (PFAF, 2017).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BS - Steppe climate Tolerated > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Ds - Continental climate with dry summer Preferred Continental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)
Dw - Continental climate with dry winter Preferred Continental climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry winters)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
63 45 0 2800

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 10 30

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration1 monthnumber of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Bimodal
Uniform

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free
  • seasonally waterlogged

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Bean leafroll virus Pathogen not specific
Costelytra zealandica Herbivore Other/All Stages not specific
Dasineura lupulinae Antagonist Other/All Stages not specific
Fusarium culmorum Pathogen Other/All Stages not specific
Phoma medicaginis Pathogen Other/All Stages not specific
Uromyces striatus Herbivore Other/All Stages not specific

Notes on Natural Enemies

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A range of diseases, herbivores and pests have been reported to affect M. lupulina. These include the bean leafroll virus, the fungus Fusarium culmorum and the larvae of Costelytra zealandica (Turkington and Cavers, 1979).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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M. lupulina spreads by seed, which can be dispersed over great distances by birds and other grazing animals. Seeds can also float in water for up to five days (Turkington and Cavers, 1979; Vibrans, 2009; PIER, 2017).

Accidental Introduction

Seeds of M. lupulina are reported as a common contaminant in seed samples of white clover, red clover, alfalfa and birdsfoot trefoil (Turkington and Cavers, 1979).

Intentional Introduction

M. lupulina has been widely and intentionally introduced for agricultural use as a forage plant for livestock and as a soil improver (Turkington and Cavers, 1979; USDA-ARS, 2017).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Crop productionWeed in agricultural land; seed contaminant Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2017
ForageCultivated as forage for livestock Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2017
Habitat restoration and improvementSoil improver Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2017
Seed tradeSeed contaminant Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2017

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
LivestockForage plant for livestock Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2017
WaterSeeds float in water for up to five days Yes Yes Turkington and Cavers, 1979

Impact

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Although M. lupulina is listed as invasive on a number of islands, e.g. Philippines, Hawaii and some islands in Oceania (PIER, 2017), there is very little information about the impact of this species in these locations. However, this species is an aggressive agricultural weed and is a seed contaminant, so it is likely to have a negative economic impact (Turkington and Cavers, 1979; Vibrans, 2009).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
Impact outcomes
  • Modification of nutrient regime
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition (unspecified)
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field

Uses

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M. lupulina is cultivated as a forage crop and is also used as a soil improver and for ground cover. This species is often planted as a “bee plant” for honey production. It is sometimes used as revegetator and as part of the composition of artificial meadows (Turkington and Cavers, 1979; USDA-ARS, 2017).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Forage

Environmental

  • Revegetation
  • Soil improvement

Human food and beverage

  • Honey/honey flora

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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M. lupulina is similar in appearance to Trifulium dubium, but these two species can be distinguished by: (1) the large, broad, toothed or sharply pointed stipules and (2) the mucronate leaf tip of M. lupulina (Turkington and Cavers, 1979).

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Control

Chemical Control

Herbicides such as 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and dicamba have been used to control M. lupulina when growing as a weed in agricultural fields (Turkington and Cavers, 1979).

References

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Acevedo-Rodríguez P, Strong MT, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, 98:1192 pp. Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Belov M, 2013. Chileflora. http://www.chileflora.com/index.html

Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2017. Flora of China. St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2

Flora of Pakistan, 2017. Flora of Pakistan/Pakistan Plant Database (PPD). St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Tropicos website. http://www.tropicos.org/Project/Pakistan

ILDIS, 2017. International Legume Database and Information Service: World Database of Legumes (version 10). Reading, UK: School of Plant Sciences, University of Reading. http://www.ildis.org/

Jorgensen, P. M., Ulloa U, C., 1994. Seed plants of the high Andes of Ecuador: a checklist. In: AAU Reports Department of Systematic Botany, University of Aarhus (Denmark) , (No. 34) . 453 pp.

Mir C, 2012. Estrategia Nacional de Especies Exóticas Invasoras Realizado en el marco del Proyecto “Mitigando las amenazas de las especies exóticas invasoras en el Caribe Insular”. Dominican Republic: Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales Santo Domingo

NOBANIS, 2017. European Network on Invasive Alien Species. https://www.nobanis.org/about-nobanis/

PFAF, 2017. Plants For A Future Database. http://www.pfaf.org/USER/Default.aspx

PIER, 2017. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. Honolulu, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii. http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html

Quiros CF, Bauchan GR, 1988. The genus Medicago and the origin of the Medicago sativa complex. Alfalfa and Alfalfa Improvement—Agronomy Monographs, 29:93-126

Stevens PF, 2012. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/APweb/

The Plant List, 2013. The Plant List: a working list of all plant species. Version 1.1. London, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.http://www.theplantlist.org

Turkington, R., Cavers, P. B., 1979. The biology of Canadian weeds. 33. Medicago lupulina L. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 59(1), 99-110.

USDA-ARS, 2017. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/tax_search.pl

USDA-NRCS, 2017. The PLANTS Database. Baton Rouge, USA: National Plant Data Center. http://plants.usda.gov/

Vibrans H, 2009. Malezas de México. Listado alfabético de las especies, ordenadas por género (Weeds of Mexico. Alphabetical list of species, ordered by genera). http://www.conabio.gob.mx/malezasdemexico/2inicio/paginas/lista-plantas-generos.htm

Wagner, W. L., Herbst, D. R., Sohmer, S. H., 1999. Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai'i, Vols. 1 and 2, (Edn 2) : University of Hawai'i and Bishop Museum Press.xviii + 1919 pp.

Distribution References

Acevedo-Rodríguez P, Strong M T, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. 1192 pp. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

CABI, Undated. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2017. Flora of China. In: Flora of China. St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2

ILDIS, 2017. International Legume Database and Information Service: World Database of Legumes (version 10)., Reading, UK: School of Plant Sciences, University of Reading. http://www.ildis.org/

Jorgensen P M, Ulloa U C, 1994. Seed plants of the high Andes of Ecuador: a checklist. In: AAU Reports Department of Systematic Botany, University of Aarhus (Denmark). 453 pp.

Mir C, 2012. (Estrategia Nacional de Especies Exóticas Invasoras Realizado en el marco del Proyecto “Mitigando las amenazas de las especies exóticas invasoras en el Caribe Insular)., Dominican Republic: Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales Santo Domingo.

NOBANIS, 2017. European Network on Invasive Alien Species., https://www.nobanis.org/about-nobanis/

PIER, 2017. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk., Honolulu, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii. http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html

USDA-ARS, 2017. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx

USDA-NRCS, 2017. The PLANTS Database. Greensboro, North Carolina, USA: National Plant Data Team. https://plants.sc.egov.usda.gov

Vibrans H, 2009. Weeds of Mexico. Alphabetical list of species, ordered by general. (Malezas de México. Listado alfabético de las especies, ordenadas por género)., http://www.conabio.gob.mx/malezasdemexico/2inicio/paginas/lista-plantas-generos.htm

Wagner W L, Herbst D R, Sohmer S H, 1999. Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai'i, Vols. 1 and 2. Honolulu, USA: University of Hawai'i and Bishop Museum Press. xviii + 1919 pp.

Contributors

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03/04/17 Original text by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

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