Medicago sativa L. is the most widely sown perennial forage legume in farming systems of southern Australia. However, M. sativa lacks adaptation to winter waterlogged conditions. This constraint has highlighted the need for new perennial forage legumes adapted to winter waterlogged conditions and to locations where the summer is too dry for the survival of Trifolium repens L. and T. fragiferum L. To explore new perennial legume options suitable for these circumstances, 10 species of Lotus were evaluated for waterlogging tolerance including: two accessions of L. corniculatus L., four accessions of L. tenuis Waldst. & Kit., two accessions of L. pedunculatus Cav., two accessions of L. australis Andrew, three accessions of L. creticus L., three accessions of L. glaucus Sol., one accession of L. cruentus Court., one accession of L. argyrodes R.P. Murray, one accession of L. campylocladus Webb & Berthel and one accession of L. latifolius Brand. These were compared with the M. sativa cultivar Sceptre. The ability to grow in waterlogged conditions, and to recover, was assessed in a pot experiment conducted over 19 weeks. The Lotus species most tolerant of waterlogging were L. corniculatus, L. tenuis and L. pedunculatus. Each of these species developed aerenchyma, adventitious roots, surface roots and split stems at the base to improve oxygen transport into the roots. Significant intra-species variation was also found within each of the three tolerant species, highlighting the opportunity for genetic improvement. By comparison, the remaining Lotus species were susceptible to waterlogging and showed poor recovery, whereas M. sativa Sceptre partially recovered after waterlogging.
Real, D., Warden, J., Sandral, G. A., & Colmer, T. (2008). Waterlogging tolerance and recovery of 10 Lotus species. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 48(4), 480-487. https://doi.org/10.1071/EA07110