29 May 2017

Alfalfa - Haradh

Whilst birding the Haradh area of Saudi Arabia I came across the below plant. Unsurprisingly this appears to be Medicago sativa or Alfalfa This is one of the main crops grown in the large pivot irrigation fields where we were birding. This is an important forage crop and is a legume. As a result it has the ability to fix nitrogen from the air and is thus high in protein. The plants were originally thought to have occurred in Iran but has been used as a fodder crop since Roman times. It is a perennial herb living for several years. It has an erect stem up to 60 centimetres high with many branches. The leaflets are 5-20 centimetres long and toothed at the apex and sometimes base. The flowers are purple to lavender in colour.


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