Medicago lupulina

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaFabaceaeMedicagoMedicago lupulina


An annual or short-lived perennial herb of dry grassland and disturbed places on relatively infertile neutral or calcareous soils; often in sunny S.-facing pastures and on roadside banks, waste places and walls. Its has a long-lived seed bank. Generally lowland, but reaching 440 m at Nenthead (Cumberland).



World Distribution

Eurosiberian Temperate element, but widely naturalised so that distribution is now Circumpolar Temperate.

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 4

Reaction (Ellenberg): 8

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 4

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.8

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15

Annual Precipitation (mm): 963

Height (cm): 50

Perennation - primary


Perennation - secondary


Life Form - primary

Therophyte (annual land plant)

Life Form - secondary


Comment on Life Form

The books say annual or short-lived perennial



Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2064

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 686

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 13

Atlas Change Index: -0.43

Weighted Changed Factor: 8

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


JNCC Designations


Atlas text references

Atlas (102d)
Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R
1988.  Comparative Plant Ecology.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Weinert E
1965.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.
Turkington R, Cavers PB
1979.  The biology of Canadian weeds. 33. Medicago lupulina L. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 59:99-110.