Black Medick - Medicago lupulina


    Low, often prostrate, hairy plant. Leaves are trifoliate and widest above the middle, with a nerve protruding at the broad end of each leaflet in the centre. Flowers yellow, 2 to 3 mm, many to a raceme. Pods coiled, sickle or kidney shaped, 1.5 to 3 mm, black when ripe.

    Similar Species

    Hop-trefoils - Trifolium dubium, campestre and micranthum

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

    If there aren't any fruits, distinguished from the Hop-trefoils by the apiculate leaves - i.e. with a short fine 'needle' at the apex of the leaf. The leaves are also much hairier than the leaves of Hop-trefoils.

    Recording advice

    General photo in habitat, and close up of leaves and/or seed pods


    Grass verges, mown areas.

    When to see it

    April to September.

    Life History


    UK Status

    Common in England and Wales, scarcer further north, mainly coastal in Scotland.

    VC55 Status

    Very common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 538 of the 617 tetrads.

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map