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Medicago Linn.

苜蓿属

Description from Flora of China

Annual or perennial herbs, rarely shrubs. Leaves pinnately 3-foliolate; stipules adnate to petiole at base; leaflets denticulate, lat­eral veins running out into teeth. Racemes axillary, flowers crowded into heads; bracts small and caducous. Calyx 5-toothed, sub­equal. Petals free from staminal tube; standard oblong to obovate, usually reflexed; wings and keel with hooked appendages involved in explosive tripping mechanism for pollination. Stamens diadelphous; filaments not dilated, apical portion of staminal column arched; anthers uniform. Ovary sessile or shortly stipitate; ovules numerous; style subulate; stigma subcapitate, oblique. Legume compressed, coiled, curved, or straight, surface reticulate, sometimes armed with spines. Seed small, reniform, smooth or rough.

About 85 species: Africa, C and SW Asia, Europe, Mediterranean region; 15 species (one endemic, six introduced) in China.


 

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