A plant from North Africa that was named by the Arabs during their conquest of the region. They brought it to Spain where cowboys were invented who promptly brought the alfalfa, cows, horses and lariats to America. Now the durn stuff grows everywhere there is livestock staining fields a purply green color in the summertime. Some alfalfa plants just can't get with the program and sport yellow flowers instead!

A deep-rooted perennial plant (Medicago sativa) of the pea family, with small divide leaves, purple cloverlike flowers, and spiral pods, used extensively for fodder and pasture and as a cover crop.

A word whose etymology I once tried to guess.  I figured it was more of an ideogram:


The a's represent soil, and the l's and f's represent stalks of alfalfa.

I really thought it could have been, and I think it's much more colorful than:

ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from Spanish, from Arabic al-faṣfaṣa, a green fodder.

Al*fal"fa (#), n. [Sp.] Bot.

The lucern (Medicago sativa); -- so called in California, Texas, etc.


© Webster 1913.

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