Black Medick (Medicago lupilina) is also known as Black Hay or spelt Black Meddick and is a member of the pea Family (Fabaceae). It is an annual plant, which can sometimes be persistent to the level of biannual. It has numerous small oval headed yellow flowers in tight bunches only a few millimetres in diameter.
Black Medick often gets confused with Clover, in particular Lesser Hop Trefoil and Hop Trefoil. This is because they have small yellow flowers and three leaflets. Black Medick’s seed pod is curved in shape compared to that of clover pops which are typically straight.
The plant itself is often short and comprised of a compact head of bright yellow flowers and clover like leaves. It requires some disturbance if it is to survivie, it can tolerate grazing or frequent cutting. It does not do well in compacted growing conditions and will be lost if the surrounding plants are allwed to grow and over run the area. Although the seeds can remain dormant in the soil for several years and can reappear when the area is managed.
Height: 45 – 50cm
Flowering Time: May to October
Preferred Conditions: Usually found in hay meadows, footpath edges and waste ground.