Bartal., Cat. Plants Siena 61 (1776) var. minima.
Synonymy: M. polymorpha L. var. minima L., Sp. Pl. 780 (1753).
, Medicago minima
Common name: Woolly burr-medic, little medic, small burr-medic.
Villous annual; branches 5-90 cm long, arising from the base, prostrate to ascending; leaflets obovate to obcordate, 6-14 x 4-8 mm, dentate near the apex, midrib ending in a terminal tooth; stipules lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, entire, sometimes shallowly dentate near the base, villous like the leaflets; peduncle l-7-flowered, longer than the corresponding petiole, or shorter to sessile, with a densely hairy cusp or without it.
Flowers 3-6 mm long, on pedicels shorter than the calyx tube; bract triangular, more or less equalling the petiole in length, scarious, midrib often ending in an awn; calyx about half the length of the flower, villous, with narrow teeth as long as the tube or longer; petals bright- to lemon-yellow; standard obovate, sometimes emarginate; wings usually slightly shorter than the keel.
Young pod turning sideways through the calyx teeth, villous over the coils and teeth with simple and glandular hairs; mature pod subglobose (discoid, ovoid, cylindrical), 3-5 mm diam., light- to dark-brown, sparsely villous and somewhat glandular, spiny with short prickles or spineless; coils 3-5, turning clockwise, thin-walled; transverse veins slender, curved, not anastomosing, running into a broad veinless lateral vein; wide groove well observable between the central and lateral veins when viewed from the edge, traversed by the bases of spines, these dividing the groove into quadrangular portions; spines from up to twice the diameter of the coil or to about one-tenth of it or absent, if present grooved to two-thirds from the base, 1 prong attached to the central vein and with the other to the lateral vein connected with the membrane, inserted at 180º to the coil face or obliquely to it (short-spined types), the long spines usually with hooked tips; seed c. 2 mm long, pale-yellow, 1 or 2 in each coil.
Cunningham et al. (1982) Plants of western New South Wales, p. 402.
In S.Aust. it is very widespread through to the pastoral country.
S.Aust.: GT, FR, EA, EP, NL, MU, YP, SL, KI, SE. W.Aust.; N.T.; ?Qld; N.S.W.; Vic.; Tas. native and widely distributed in Europe, adventitious in other continents.
Flowering time: July — Jan.
SA Distribution Map based
on current data relating to
specimens held in the
State Herbarium of South Australia
Of more than 20 described varieties up to 1963, Heyn distinguished 3 varieties, but K. A. & I. Lesins (p. 191) could not find a basis for the segregation of these varieties and treated it as one variable species.
Not yet available