Medicago sativa ssp. falcata* (Falcata alfalfa)

Also called Yellow-flowered alfalfa. Persistent, long-lived, very resilient nitrogen fixing perennial legume with yellow flowers. Widely adapted within semi-arid environments. Leaves and stems are finer than conventional purple-flowered Alfalfa (M. sativa) and its root system is much more shallow and fibrous. Crown is set uniquely low beneath the soil surface. Low crown depth prevents damage from trampling and combined with significant plant dormancy, results in extreme tolerance to drought and cold. Excellent palatability to livestock and wildlife, including big game and waterfowl. Use in grazing systems, rangelands, wildlife habitat enhancement and erosion control projects. Readily hybridizes with common purple flowered alfalfa. Varieties listed below.


Medicago sativa ssp falcata (Falcata alfalfa) map.png


Family: Fabaceae

Duration: Perennial

Growth Habit: Forb

Native Status: Introduced

Growth Form: Single Crown

Mature Height: 24 in.

Bloom Color: Yellow

Bloom Period: Spring

Annual Precipitation: 7-65 in.

Drought Tolerance: High

Shade Tolerance: Intolerant

Fire Resistance: No

Fire Tolerance: High

Nitrogen fixation: High

Bloat: Medium


Coarse Texture: No

Medium Texture: Yes

Fine Texture: Yes

Salinity Tolerance: Medium

CaCO3 Tolerance: High

pH Range: 6.0-8.5


Seeds per Pound: 454,000 (~2.25x purple-flowered alfalfa)

Seeding Rate: 1-2 lbs/acre

Season: Spring/Fall

Days to Germination:


Don - Grazing-type alfalfa for mixed-grass seedings on semiarid rangelands and irrigated pastures, intended to increase forage production and nutrient values over decades. Non-aggressive but significantly more persistent than purple-flowered alfalfas on harsh rangelands and in competitive grazing systems. Grows below the canopy of most forage grasses. Enters dormancy when water is limited for an extended period, regrowing when moisture returns. (Released 2009)