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Medic, Common burr
(Medicago polymorpha)

  • small annual medic
  • needs neutral pH, moderate P levels
  • naturalised over large area of S. Queensland
  • burr can cause vegetable fault in wool.

Burr medic has naturalised over some 2 million hectares of southen Queensland on soils of neutral to high pH and moderate phosphorus status.

Burr medic is sown in permanent and native pastures, and can provide excellent feed in `medic years' when good autumn and winter rainfall follow a dry summer. Regeneration of medics in autumn is helped by heavy grazing of the summer-growing native grasses which is deleterious to native pasture stability.

It is smooth-leafed, but the burrs have hooked spines which cause vegetable fault in wool.

Other naturalised medics are the woolly burr medic (M. minima). the cut-leaf medic (M. laciniata), M. obicularis and M. lupulina.

Commercial lines of common burr medic include Santiago, Circle Valley and Serena.

Santiago flowers similarly to Cyprus, Circle Valley is mid-season, and Serena very early flowering. Susceptibility to blue green aphid has limited their use.

Cut-leaf medic can tolerate slightly more acid soils, and is found on the western fringe of medic adaptation.

M. murex, cv. Zodiac, is the medic most suited to acid soils, but needs its specific rhizobium. It is very late-flowering and aphid susceptible.

Other species for the subtropics are barrel and snail medics

Creator: Ian Partridge,
Date created: 14 April 1998  Revised: 15 January 2003

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