Pink, Rose, Red, or Purple Flowered Forbs

Pink, Rose, Red & Purple Flowered Forbs
Alfalfa
Black henbane
Blue Mustard
Bull thistle
Canada thistle
Common burdock
Diffuse knapweed
Hounds-tongue
Iberian knapweed
Meadow knapweed
Musk thistle
Purple loosestrife
Purple starthistle
Red clover
Redstem filaree
Russian knapweed
Scotch thistle
Spiny plumeless thistle
Spotted knapweed
Squarrose knapweed
Tall morning-glory
Teasel

 

Alfalfa
Medicago sativa L. (Pea family, Fabaceae)
 

Description

Alfalfa is a long lived, perennial legume; stems decumbent to erect from a woody crown to about 8 to 31-1/2 inches tall; new growth occurs from buds in the crown; taproot stout.

Leaves: Leaves are trifoliate compound, alternately arranged on the stem; petiole pubescent, 3/16 to 1-3/16 inches long; leaflets 3/8 to 9/16 inch long, 1/8 to 3/8 inch wide, narrowly lanceolate to obovate, glabrous or appressed hairy, paler green beneath; stipules entire to sharply toothed, 3/16 to 5/8 inches long, pubescent on lower surface, glabrous on upper surface.

Flowers: Flowers March to October; inflorescence spikelike, 5 to 40 flowered, longer in fruit; calyx 3/16 inch long or less; corolla 5/16 to 3/8 inch long, purple or multicolored (i.e., violet, violet-green, greenish-yellow, rarely yellow).

Fruit: Leathery pods, slightly pubescent or glabrous, 1/8 to 3/8 inch in diameter, ranging from sickle-shaped to spirals (2 to 3 coils); pods contain 6 to 8 small kidney-shaped, yellowish-brown seeds; produces roughly 227,000 seeds per pound.

Habitat

Near cultivated fields, meadows, roadsides, disturbed habitats, waste places, and on moist soils within elevations that generally range from 4,000 to 9,500 feet.

Propagation/Phenology

Reproduces by seed.

Comments

Native to southwest Asia; deep rooting habit (where possible as much as 20 feet or more) makes alfalfa a very drought resistant plant. Alfalfa has been cultivated for forage worldwide. Alfalfa may become weedy or invasive in some regions or habitats and may displace desirable vegetation if not properly managed. This species generally occurs as a weed in wildland areas of the Southwestern Region rather than as an invasive plant.

Collage of 4 images of alfalfa

 

 

Forest Service Shield
Invasive plants and weeds of the national forests and grasslands in the southwestern region
alfalfa plants alfalfa trifoliate leaf alfalfa fruit alfalfa flowers