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Lucerne: an insectary plant

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Lucerne: an insectary plant

Much of the wild flora in our countryside occurs as a result of human intervention. Many flowers that we now deem to be 'wild flowers' were originally brought here to adorn our gardens but, through various means, they have escaped to become naturalised. Some are welcome, some not so. Over the years the range of crops humans have sewn and reaped for food or have grown as fodder for farm animals has changed. Once fashionable plants are no longer seen in our fields except where they have self seeded, avoided the sprays and successfully continued to prosper. Once such plant is lucerne (Medicago sativa). 

Lucerne is a member of the pea family, it is a clover. Once commonly grown as a fodder crop it still lingers in places. The flowers appear between June and September and vary in colour from violet to rich purple depending on the soil. It is a very popular flower with insects and is planted in some parts of the world to enhance insect activity and to aid pollination of other crops planted with it. It is, therefore, considered an insectary; a place where insects are reared.

Known in the United States as alfalfa, lucerne is rich in protein and vitamins. It can be sewn and the spouts eaten within just four days. 


 

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This nature note was written by ----> Peter Orchard
This nature nore was written ----> 1 year 8 months ago

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