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Black Medick

I find black medick a troublesome plant to identify as it can be so variable in size depending on how much grazing and wear it gets. Small, well worn specimens can look very much like other trefoil (or clover) species and it is easy to make a mistake. Where the plant has a degree of protection near a wall or on a bank it can grow quite large and can then be mistaken for hop trefoil! For such a common flower it really is a trial!

It is called black medick because, unlike other trefoils and this can help identification, it produces black seeds which were believed to have medicinal powers. It also differs from trefoils because the leaf is a slightly different shape to those species but you will need to look in a suitable field guide to see what I mean.


Common Name Black Medick
Scientific Name Medicago lupulina
Species Group Pea Family Fabaceae
Interest Level
Look for
Identification Notes
Primary Habitat
Family Pea family - Leguminosae
Status very common
Flower Colour Group Yellow
  • 04 - April
  • 05 - May
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
  • 08 - August
  • 09 - September
Preferred Environment
Look for Low, prostrate plant with small clover flower heads
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Notebook Distribution Map Sites List Some Charts Some Photographs Recent Records Guidance Notes

To see related species click here: 

Pea Family Fabaceae