Scientific Name
Common Names
Naturalised Distribution
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Click on images to enlarge

habit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)

leaves, with three leaflets, and flower clusters (Photo: Sheldon Navie)

close-up of stem and leaf undersides (Photo: Sheldon Navie)

close-up of pea-shaped flowers (Photo: Sheldon Navie)

immature fruit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)

close-up of mature fruit (Photo: Tracey Slotta at USDA PLANTS Database)

close-up of seeds (Photo: Steve Hurst at USDA PLANTS Database)

seedlings (Photo: Sheldon Navie)

Medicago polymorpha

Scientific Name

Medicago polymorpha L.


Medicago apiculata Willd.
Medicago denticulata Willd.
Medicago denticulata Willd. var. brevispina Benth.
Medicago denticulata Willd. var. vulgaris Benth.
Medicago hispida Gaertn. var. denticulata (Willd.) Urb.
Medicago hispida Gaertn. var. inermis Urb.
Medicago hispida Gaertn. var. lappacea (Desr.) J.M. Black
Medicago lappacea Desr.
Medicago polymorpha L. var. brevispina (Benth.) Heyn
Medicago polymorpha L. var. polymorpha
Medicago polymorpha L. var. vulgaris (Benth.) Shinners
Medicago reticulata Benth.


Fabaceae (Queensland, the ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory)
Fabaceae: sub-family Faboideae (New South Wales)
Leguminosae (South Australia)
Papilionaceae (Western Australia)

Common Names

bur clover, bur-clover, burclover, burr medic, burr-medic, California bur-clover, California burclover, Californian bur clover, common burr medic, hairy medic, hairy medick, medic, spiny burr medic, toothed bur clover, toothed bur-clover, toothed medic, toothed medick, yellow bur-clover


Native to northern Africa (i.e. Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia), the Azores, the Madeira Islands, the Canary Islands, Europe (i.e. the UK, Austria, Germany, France, Portugal, Spain, Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Romania, Yugoslavia and Ukraine), western Asia and the Indian sub-continent (i.e. north-western India and Pakistan).

Naturalised Distribution

Widely naturalised throughout most of the country, but most common in southern and eastern Australia. Common in southern and central Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, southern South Australia and south-western Western Australia. Occasionally naturalised in northern Queensland, in the southern parts of the Northern Territory, and in other parts of South Australia and Western Australia.

Also naturalised on Lord Howe Island, on Norfolk Island, and in many other parts of the world.


Burr medic (Medicago polymorpha) is regarded as an environmental weed in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia.