WILD ALFALFA
File Size: 95 KB
 
Pediomelum tenuiflorum   (Pursh ) A. N. Egan
[=Psoralea tenuiflora Pursh]
Riley County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 1-4 feet
Family: Fabaceae - Bean Family
Flowering Period:   May, June, July
Also Called: Many-flower scurf-pea, narrow-leaf scurf-pea.
Stems: Erect or ascending, 1 to several, wiry, much-branched, longitudinally ridged, grayish hairy.
Leaves: Alternate, short-stalked, palmately compound, stem-leaves 5-foliolate, branch leaves often 3-foliolate; leaflets elliptic to oblanceolate, 1/2 to 2 inches long, 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide, nearly glabrous above, stiff hairy below; margins entire; tips usually blunt or rounded, abruptly short-pointed.
Inflorescences: Racemes, elongate, many-flowered, terminal.
Flowers: Calyces bell-shaped, 5-lobed, lower lobe slightly longer than 4 upper lobes, conspicuously glandular-dotted; corollas papilionaceous, about 1/4 inch long, light blue to purple, usually in clusters of 2-4, stamens 10, 9 united, 1 free.
Fruits: Pods, egg-shaped, smooth, about 1/3 inch long, glandular-dotted; seeds smooth, often shiny, brown.
Habitat: Dry sandy or rocky prairies, open woodlands, and roadsides.
Distribution: Throughout Kansas.
Forage Value: Livestock do not particularly like it but will consume its early growth or plants cured in prairie hay.
Uses: The Lakota treated headaches with a tea made from the roots and burned the plant to ward off mosquitoes.
Comments: This native legume resembles alfalfa but has smaller and narrower leaves that grow less densely. Wild alfalfa is fairly drought resistant, with roots going down 10 feet.

Wild alfalfa flowers
158 KB
Riley County, Kansas
Wild alfalfa
74 KB
Riley County, Kansas
Wild alfalfa
160 KB
Riley County, Kansas
Wild alfalfa
106 KB
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Wild alfalfa pods
70 KB
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Wild alfalfa
45 KB
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Wild alfalfa
135 KB
Riley County, Kansas
Wild alfalfa flowers
35 KB
Russell County, Kansas
Wild alfalfa
153 KB
Russell County, Kansas