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

Species profile

Common names
Black Medick
Species group:
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
21/06/2001 (Jane McPhail;John Kramer)
Last record:
10/08/2023 (Smith, Peter)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

10km squares with records

The latest images and records displayed below include those awaiting verification checks so we cannot guarantee that every identification is correct. Once accepted, the record displays a green tick.

In the Latest Records section, click on the header to sort A-Z, and again to sort Z-A. Use the header boxes to filter the list.

Latest images

Latest records

Photo of the association

Liriomyza congesta

The yellow larvae of the fly Liriomyza congesta mine the leaves of various Legumes such as Peas, Medicks, Lucernes and Vetches. The mine is on the upper surface of the leaf and the frass shows in a green strips.