Most specimens of medicago sativa are ssp sativa, the cultivated variety, with dark purple flowers, pedicles that are shorter than the calyx tube, and sickle-shaped seed pods. Ssp falcata, much less common, has yellow flowers, pedicles that are longer than the calyx tube, and coiled seed pods.
Main flower color:
England, Wales and southern Scotland; a naturalised species, formerly cultivated
Up to 80 cm
Grassland, waste ground
Petals are purple (ssp sativa), withering to blue, or bright yellow (ssp falcata), while calyces are light green, divided to about half their length into narrow lobes, and attached by sparsely hairy pedicels. Flowers are arranged in dense clusters, of up to 40
Trifoliate, with hairless, dark green, obovate to oblanceolate, pinnately-veined, stalked leaflets
June to September