Alfalfa Alfalfa;( Medicago sativa) is a perennial flowering plant in the pea family Fabaceae cultivated as an important forage crop in the US, Canada, Argentina, France, Australia, the Middle East, South Africa, and many other countries. The English name is adopted from the Spanish, originally alfalfez, which in turn is derived from the Arabic al-fisfisa "fresh fodder". The Spanish name is widely used, particularly in the US but it is also known as lucerne in the UK, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, erba medica in Italy, meaning medical herb, luzerne in France, and lucerne grass in South Asian English. It superficially resembles clover, with clusters of small purple flowers followed by fruits spiralled in 2 to 3 turns containing 10-20 seeds. Alfalfa has been cultivated by humans since at least the 4th century CE and has some use in herbal medicine.