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Burr Medic

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Scientific Name:Medicago polymorpha
Photo: Burr Medic
Burr Medic
Photograph courtesy of
Viridans Biological Databases (external link)

Other Common Names:

Trefoil, Toothed Medic, Creeping Burr, Medic Burr, Rough Medic


Native to the Mediterranean but found throughout the world.

Plant Description:

annual forb, with stems to 50 cm long, sometimes twining, and growing erect when mixed with taller plants (to around 10 cm tall). Leaves each composed of three leaflets borne on short stalks at the end of the main leaf stalk, the terminal leaflet on a longer stalk than the other two. Leaflets wedge shaped, 8 – 20 mm long and 7-15 mm broad, blunt at the tip, the margins finely toothed towards the tip.

Flowers yellow and pea-like, 3 – 6 mm long. Fruit is a pod, disc-like or
cylindrical, 3 –4 mm diameter, covered with slender spreading and mostly hooked spines to 4 mm long which are often soft when mature. Flowering spring


Found in a wide variety of vegetation communities ranging from open grasslands to shrublands and woodlands, and grows on a wide range of soils, but does best in alkaline soils. Grows most prolifically on heavy clays.

RegionSalinity ClassWaterlogging Class
Mallee, Loddon Murray, Central and Northern, Wimmera, Western, GippslandS0, S1W0, W1, W2


Burr Medics, and particularly the more recently developed spineless cultivars, are often sown in annual rainfall environments; proving to provide good tolerance in moderately saline situations.

Photo: Burr Medic closeup
Burr Medic fruit
Photo: A J Brown
Photo: Burr Medic plant
Burr Medic plant
Photo: A J Brown

Leaves and flowers of Burr Medic
Leaves and flowers of Burr Medic
Photo: A J Brown

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