Medicago truncatula Gaertn.

Barrel Medic

Fruct. Sem. Pl. 2: 350, t. 155 (1791) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Prostrate or ascending annual herb; stems 15–80 cm long, sparsely hairy; hairs simple. Leaflets obovate, 5–15 mm long, 3–20 mm wide, serrate or dentate towards apex, upper surface glabrescent, sometimes with darker flecks or a dark central patch, lower surface appressed-hairy, apex rounded or subacute with a terminal tooth; stipules to c. 10 mm long, dentate to laciniate, lower surface hairy. Inflorescence 1–5-flowered; peduncle 0.5–2 cm long, equal to or shorter than subtending petiole. Pedicels to c. 2 mm long; calyx 3–5 mm long, teeth longer than tube; corolla yellow; standard 4.5–7 mm long; wings shorter than keel. Pod with 4–8 coils, cylindric, 5–10 mm long, 6–11 mm diam., sparsely hairy, spiny; coil hard-walled, edge broad, ridged; face obscurely veined, veins scarcely anastomosing; marginal vein thick, raised above level of submarginal veins; grooves slight; spines 7–11 on each side of coil, 1–4 mm long; seeds 3–12, to c. 4 mm long, yellowish. Flowers Sep.–Dec.

*GipP, *Gold, *LoM, *MuF, *MuM, *MSB, *NIS, *OtP, *RobP, *VRiv, *VVP, *Wim. Naturalised all mainland States. Native to the Mediterranean. Scattered widely across northern and western Victoria on a variety of soils, in pastures, disturbed ground and along road verges.

Heyn (1963) recognized 3 varieties based on the number of pod coils and the orientation of the pod spines, but according to Lesins & Lesins (1979) these are not soundly based. The Australian material is very variable and displays a wide range of pod shapes and spine orientation and length.

Source: Jeanes, J.A. (1996). Fabaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-12-20
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Rosanae
order Fabales
family Fabaceae
genus Medicago
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Medicago truncatula in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Medicago truncatula in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present naturalised
Murray Mallee present naturalised
Wimmera present naturalised
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Murray Scroll Belt present naturalised
Robinvale Plains present naturalised
Murray Fans present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Otway Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present naturalised
Northern Inland Slopes present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory