Invasive Species Compendium

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Datasheet

Medicago lupulina
(black medick)

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Datasheet

Medicago lupulina (black medick)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 06 November 2018
  • 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-2015 - 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-2015 - 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-2008 - 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-2008 - 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.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

AfghanistanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
ArmeniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
AzerbaijanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
ChinaPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2017
Georgia (Republic of)PresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
IndiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
-BiharPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
-DelhiPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
-GujaratPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
-HaryanaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
-Himachal PradeshPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
-Indian PunjabPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
-Jammu and KashmirPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
-Madhya PradeshPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
-RajasthanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
-Uttar PradeshPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
-West BengalPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
IranPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
IraqPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
IsraelPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
JapanPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017Naturalized
-Bonin IslandPresentIntroducedPIER, 2017
KazakhstanPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017Naturalized
Korea, DPRPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
Korea, Republic ofPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
KyrgyzstanPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017Naturalized
LebanonPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
MongoliaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017Naturalized
NepalPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
PakistanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
PhilippinesPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017
Saudi ArabiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
SyriaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
TaiwanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
TajikistanPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017Naturalized
TurkeyPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
TurkmenistanPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017Naturalized
UzbekistanPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017Naturalized
YemenPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017

Africa

AlgeriaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
EgyptPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
EthiopiaPresentILDIS, 2017
KenyaPresentILDIS, 2017
LibyaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
MauritiusPresentILDIS, 2017
MoroccoPresentNativeILDIS, 2017; USDA-ARS, 2017
SomaliaPresentILDIS, 2017
South AfricaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017Naturalized
Spain
-Canary IslandsPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
TanzaniaPresentILDIS, 2017
TunisiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017

North America

CanadaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017Naturalized
-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
GreenlandPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
MexicoPresentIntroducedVibrans, 2009; USDA-ARS, 2017Adventive
Saint Pierre and MiquelonPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
USAPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017Naturalized
-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
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive Wagner 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

Central America and Caribbean

BahamasPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
CubaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; Mir, 2012Possible invasive
GuatemalaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017Adventive
HaitiPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017Naturalized
BrazilPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017Naturalized
ChilePresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017Naturalized
EcuadorPresentIntroducedJorgensen and Ulloa, 1994; USDA-ARS, 2017Naturalized
PeruPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017Naturalized
UruguayPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017Naturalized

Europe

AlbaniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
AustriaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
BelarusPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
BelgiumPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
BulgariaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
CyprusPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
Czechoslovakia (former)PresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
DenmarkPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
EstoniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
FinlandPresentNOBANIS, 2017; USDA-ARS, 2017Considered both native and introduced in the country
FrancePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
GermanyPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
GreecePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
HungaryPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
IcelandPresentIntroduced1874NOBANIS, 2017Rare
IrelandPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
ItalyPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
LatviaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
LithuaniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
NetherlandsPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
NorwayPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
PolandPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
PortugalPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
-AzoresPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017Naturalized
-MadeiraPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
RomaniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
Russian FederationPresentConsidered both native and introduced in the country
-Central RussiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
-Eastern SiberiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017Naturalized
-Russian Far EastPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017Naturalized
-Southern RussiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
-Western SiberiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017Naturalized
SpainPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
SwedenPresentNOBANIS, 2017; USDA-ARS, 2017Considered both native and introduced in the country
SwitzerlandPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
UKPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
UkrainePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
Yugoslavia (former)PresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)PresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2017; USDA-ARS, 2017Naturalized
-Lord Howe Is.PresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017
-New South WalesPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2017
-QueenslandPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2017
-South AustraliaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2017
-TasmaniaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2017
-VictoriaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2017
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2017
New ZealandPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017; USDA-ARS, 2017
Norfolk IslandPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017Also cultivated
TongaPresentPIER, 2017
US Minor Outlying IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017

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
  • 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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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

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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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