Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Medicago sativa
L., Fabaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Other Latin names:  Medicago caerulea Less. ex Ledeb.; Medicago falcata L.

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: zi mu xu

English: alfalfa, lucerne, violet-flower lucerne

French: luzerne

Japanese: murasaki-umagoyashi

Korean: jajukgaejari

Spanish: alfalfa, alfalfa rustica, mielga

Habit:  herb

Description:  "Perennial herbs, 30-100 cm. Stems erect, ascending, rarely prostrate, quadrangular, glabrous or puberulent, much branched. Stipules ovate-lanceolate, base entire or with 1 or 2 denticles, apex acute; leaflets long ovate, obovate, to linear-ovate, (5-) 10-25 (-40) x 3-10 mm, papery, appressed pubescent abaxially, glabrous adaxially, lateral veins 8-10 pairs, base tapering, margin serrulate in upper 1/3, apex rounded, mucronate with a denticle from midrib. Heads or racemes with 5-30 flowers, 1-2.5 cm; peduncles straight, longer than leaves; bracts equal to pedicels, ca. 2 mm. Corolla variable in color, white, deep blue, to dark purple; standard oblong, retuse. Ovary linear; ovules numerous. Legume tightly coiled in 2-4 (-6) spirals, 5-9 mm in diameter, center solid or nearly so, brown when ripe, veins thin and inconspicuous. Seeds 10-20, yellow or brown, ovoid, 1-2.5 mm, smooth"  (Flora of China online).

Habitat/ecology:  In Hawai‘i, "cultivated and naturalized in dry to mesic, disturbed areas such as pastures and roadsides, 3-2,075 m"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 686).  In New Caledonia, "Bien qu'ayant fait ses preuves comme plante fourragère, la luzerne, maintenant peu cultivée, se présente aujourd'hui surtout comme mauvaise herbe peu commune. Sa culture est toutefois reprise sur une échelle modeste dans la région de Boulouparis"  (MacKee, 1994; p. 86).  "Cultivated throughout China, often escaped to roadsides, fields, grasslands, and stream banks"  (Flora of China online).  In New Zealand, "waste places, cultivated land"  (Webb et al., 1988; p. 666).  "In Chile this species grows in the following environmental conditions:  Medium altitude up to the timber line; low altitude, interior valleys; coastal mountains, 500-2000 m; coastal areas, 0-500 m. Humid areas, with almost constant rainfall, short dry periods are possible (generally not longer than 1 month); somewhat dry areas where the drought may last 3-5 months, precipitations of 400-800 mm. are concentrated in winter. Fully exposed to the sun, level areas or slopes facing north; some shadow, some protection against direct sunlight, some shadow from vegetation, filtering about 20-40% of light"  (Chileflora).

Propagation:  Seed

Native range:  Europe, northern Africa, Asia; widely cultivated and naturalized(GRIN).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
invasive
Atkinson, Rachel/Sawyer, John (2011)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
invasive
Danton, Philippe/Perrier, Christophe/Martinez Reyes, Guido (2006) (p. 555)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más Afuera (Alejandro Selkirk Island) introduced
invasive
Atkinson, Rachel/Sawyer, John (2011)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más Afuera (Alejandro Selkirk Island) introduced
invasive
Danton, Philippe/Perrier, Christophe/Martinez Reyes, Guido (2006) (p. 555)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Isabela Group
Isabela Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
San Cristóbal Group
San Cristóbal Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Santa Cruz Group
Santa Cruz Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island introduced
cultivated
Smith, Albert C. (1985) (p. 266)
Vouchers cited: DA 12306, DA 12307
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Austral (Tubuai) Islands
Tubuai Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 114)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 686)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 686)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Lāna‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 686)
Voucher cited: Munro 491 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R. (1995) (p. 20)
East Maui. Voucher cited: Hobdy et al., 2830 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Shannon, Robynn K./Herbst, Derral R. (1997) (p. 57)
East Maui. Vouchers cited: Medeiros 295 (BISH), Hobdy et al., 3381 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Oppenheimer, Hank L./Meidell, J. Scott/Bartlett, R. T. (1999) (p. 8)
West Maui. Vouchers cited: Oppenheimer H79804A (BISH), Oppenheimer H79804B (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Moloka‘i Island introduced
invasive
Oppenheimer, Hank L. (2003) (p. 13)
Voucher cited: Oppenheimer H110148 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 686)
New Caledonia
Îles Loyauté (Loyalte Islands)
Île Lifou introduced
invasive
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 86)
Voucher cited: Huguenin s.n. (NOU)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
invasive
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 86)
Vouchers cited: Pancher s.n., MacKee 16051, Veillon 2317 (NOU)
New Zealand (offshore islands)
Kermadec Islands
Kermadec Islands introduced
invasive
Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. (1988) (p. 666)
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island)
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island) introduced
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
United States (other Pacific offshore islands)
Midway Atoll
Midway Atoll introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 686)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
Australia (continental) introduced
invasive
National Herbarium of New South Wales (2013)
South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria
Naturalised
Australia
Australia (continental)
New South Wales introduced
invasive
National Herbarium of New South Wales (2013)
Naturalised
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
invasive
National Herbarium of New South Wales (2013)
Naturalised
Canada (British Colombia)
Province of British Columbia
Canada (British Columbia) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
China
China
China (People's Republic of) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
Cultivated throughout China, often escaped to roadsides, fields, grasslands, and stream banks.
China
China
Hong Kong introduced
cultivated
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 149)
Forage.
Japan
Japan
Japan (country) introduced
Mito, Toshikazu/Uesugi, Tetsuro (2004) (p. 185)
subsp. sativa and falcata L.
North Korea
North Korea
North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
South Korea
South Korea
South Korea (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Adventive
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
invasive
Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. (1988) (p. 666)
South America (Pacific rim)
South America (Pacific rim)
Chile (Republic of) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
South America (Pacific rim)
South America (Pacific rim)
Chile (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Belov, Michail (2013)
South America (Pacific rim)
South America (Pacific rim)
Colombia (Republic of) introduced
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
South America (Pacific rim)
South America (Pacific rim)
Perú (Republic of) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Taiwan
Taiwan Island
Taiwan Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
Cultivated throughout China, often escaped to roadsides, fields, grasslands, and stream banks.
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (Oregon) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (California) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (Washington) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
Indian Ocean
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Mauritius
Mautitius Islands (Mauritius and Rodrigues)
Mauritius Island introduced
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Canada (except British Colombia)
Canada
Canada (country) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
United States (other states) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
All states
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

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This page was created on 12 FEB 2011 and was last updated on 20 MAY 2013.