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.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


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

UK Map