Denomination: 'Yellowhead'
Botanical Name: Medicago sativa subsp. falcata
Applicant/Holder: Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Swift Current Research and Development Centre
1 Airport Road
P.O. Box 1030
Swift Current, Saskatchewan
S9H 3X2
Breeder: J. G. McLeod, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Swift Current, Saskatchewan
Agent in Canada: Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada
Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization
6000 C&E Trail
Lacombe, Alberta
T4L 1W1
Tel: (403) 782-8126
Application Date: 2005-06-08
Application Number: 05-4961
Grant of Rights Date: 2009-08-17
Certificate Number: 3558
Grant of Rights Termination Date: 2027-08-17

Variety Description

Varieties used for comparison: 'Anik' and 'Beaver'

Summary: 'Yellowhead' differs from the reference varieties, 'Anik' and 'Beaver' mainly in ploidy, height of fall re-growth, flower colour, pod shape and resistance to bacterial wilt (Corynebacterium insidiosum). 'Yellowhead' is a tetraploid whereas 'Anik' is a diploid. The fall re-growth of 'Yellowhead' is taller than that of 'Anik' and shorter than that of 'Beaver'. The flowers of 'Yellowhead' are predominantly yellow whereas they are predominantly yellow-orange in 'Anik' and predominantly variegated in 'Beaver'. The pods of 'Yellowhead' 97% sickle shaped whereas the pods of 'Beaver' are predominantly crescent-shape to coiled in two spirals (70%) with some coiled in one spiral (18%) and three (12%) spirals. 'Yellowhead' is moderately resistant to bacterial wilt (Corynebacterium insidiosum) whereas 'Anik' is susceptible and 'Beaver' is resistant.


PLOIDY: tetraploid

FALL GROWTH HABIT: 8% semi-prostrate, 70% intermediate, 22% semi-erect
STEM: no pubescence

FLOWER: 97% yellow, 3% yellow-green

ROOT: tap to rhizomatous to creeping, narrow crown

POD: 97% sickle shape, 3% crescent-shape to coiled in one spiral, no pubescence

REACTION TO DISEASES: moderately resistant to bacterial wilt (Corynebacterium insidiosum)

Origin & Breeding History: 'Yellowhead', tested as 'SCMF-3713', was developed by mass selection of Medicago falcata populations growing in the wild in the Swift Current, Saskatchewan area. Only plants with pure Medicago falcata flower colour were selected. Selected plants were polycrossed in a growth room and sterile plants were discarded. Further seed increases were carried out in the field at Swift Current and Melfort. Breeder seed plot was established in 1994. Subsequent re-selection for resistance to bacterial wilt took place for 3 cycles thereafter.

Tests & Trials: The tests and trials for 'Yellowhead' were conducted at the Semi-Arid Prairie Agricultural Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Swift Current, Saskatchewan during the summers of 2007 and 2008. Trials were arranged using a randomized complete block design (RCB) with four replicates per variety. Plots consisted of single rows of 30 plants spaced 1 metre apart within the row. Observations were based on a minimum of 60 plants.

Comparison tables for 'Yellowhead' with reference varieties 'Anik' and 'Beaver'

Mid-summer plant height (cm)

  'Yellowhead' 'Anik' 'Beaver'
mean 48.1 43.3 61.1
std. deviation 10.8 10.6 8.1

Fall re-growth, natural plant height (cm)

  'Yellowhead' 'Anik' 'Beaver'
mean 25.0 20.9 51.4
std. deviation 8.44 6.53 9.32

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Alfalfa: 'Yellowhead'

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Alfalfa: 'Anik'

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Alfalfa: 'Beaver'

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