Plant Image
Flowers and leaves

Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Medicago minima - little bur-clover

Other Common Names: bur-medic, bur-clover, small medic, little medic
Plant Form: Forb

Family: Fabaceae

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Leaves and seed pods
Liz Makings @
Max Licher @
Forb Plant Description

Origin: Introduced   Life Cycle: Annual
General Desc: Three heart shaped leaflets, toothed near the apex, generally with dark blotches in the center. Hairy stems are ascending and are 4 to 16 inches long. Fruit pods are spirally coiled and prickled with hairs between prickles. This plant is rare.
Identification notes: Herbage with soft hairs; stipules (leaf-like appendages at the base of leaf stems) narrow. Pods spirally coiled, several seeded, prickly.
Height: Trailing, 4 to 16 inches


Habitat Description: Turf, roadsides, fields, grasslands, pastures, agricultural sites (especially alfalfa fields) and other disturbed sites.
Plant Communities: Disturbed Areas
Elevation: 100 - 3300 feet

Flower Characteristics

Color: Yellow     Shape: Irregular in elongated clusters     Tubular: N     Flowering Period: Mar - Jun
Description: Small, bright yellow flowers are clustered at the stem tips.

Leaf and Stem Characteristics

Leaf Color: Green     Leaf Type: Compound     Leaf Shape: Round or oval     Leaf Margin: Toothed     Leaf Attachment: Alternate     Leaves Clasp: N
Hairs: Leaves and stems     Spines: N
Leaf Description: Cotyledons (seed leaves) are oblong. The first true leaf is rounded. Later leaves are composed of three leaflets and have a clover-like shape.

Fruit and Seed Characteristics

Fruit Color: Brown   
Fruit Type: Pod
Fruit Notes: Fruits are the most distinctive character, being spirally wound and armed with what appear to be small fishhooks. The pods are mostly brown, hairless and smooth.
Seed Notes: Several yellowish or tan, kidney-shaped seeds are contained in each pod.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 7.0  
Last Updated: May 10, 2017  
Content Questions/Comments: Email Jeff Schalau  
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