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Toothed medick – in-nefel il-komuni

The toothed medick or in-nefel il-komuni in Maltese is a very common plant and it is frequently found in various habitats. Its leaves are divided in three with yellow flowers and they appear between January and June.

Upon pollination, these develop into spirally-coiled ‘pods’ bearing hooked teeth along their outer margin; these remain attached to animals’ feathers or fur, aiding dispersal. Many other medicks are frequent in Malta, mostly differentiated by their pod shape.

The coastal or littoral medick (in-nefel tax-xtut) has similar spirally-coiled pods and is mostly coastal in distribution. The weedy disk medick (in-nefel il-lixx) bears discoid ufo-like spiral pods bearing no teeth, while the ciliate medick (in-nefel tat-tafal), which is found on clay slopes, has considerably larger and hairy pods, with short spines.

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