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Black Clover Medicago lupulina

Phonetic Spelling
me-DIH-kay-go loop-yoo-LY-nuh
Description

Medicago lupulina, commonly known as black medic or hop clover, is usually found in disturbed areas or lawns, as well as, fields and pastures. This summer annual broadleaf grows prostrate across the ground and has trifoliate leaves with a spur on the center leaflet. Yellow flowers are in a rounded cluster at the end of a stem emerging from the leaves and will yield black seed pods when ripe. Management includes hand pulling or weeding tools that can remove the large taproot. Black medic thrives in nutrient poor and dry soils. Fixing these issues in your lawn and garden will minimize the appearance of this weed.

Each globe-shaped flower head consists of a dense cluster of 15-50 small yellow flowers.  Each leaf is divided into 3 leaflets, also referred to as trifoliate.  The center leaflet is attached to the stem by a short stalk, while the two outer leaflets attach directly to the stem. 

This aggressive plant forms dense clusters of seedpods after flowering.  

Its root system has a coarse branched taproot that may form nodules.  They add nitrogen to the surrounding soil.  

Animals will graze on this plant.

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems:  This is an aggressive, weedy plant.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#weed#weedy#summer annual weed#aggressive#warm season weed
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#weed#weedy#summer annual weed#aggressive#warm season weed
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Medicago
    Species:
    lupulina
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Macronesia, Europe, Asia
    Distribution:
    Entire USA
    Wildlife Value:
    Bees, flies and small butterflies are attracted to this plant.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Edibility:
    Leaves and seeds can be eaten when cooked.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Herb
    Weed
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Prostrate
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Legume
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The dense cluster of seeds can aggressively spread this plant's habitat. The pods are dark in color, hairy and curled. Each pod contains one seed. Hairy, kidney-shaped, slightly coiled and arranged in clusters, black when ripe
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Raceme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Irregular
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The globe-shaped flower head is a dense cluster of 15 to 50 small flowers. Inflorescence is a 1/4" globe shaped cluster made up of 15-50 pea-like floral structures,each 1/8" across and with an upper standard and lower keel.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The green to dark green leaves are each divided into 3 leaflets. The middle leaflet has a short stalk, while the two outer leaflets are attached to the stem. There are fine light green veins on the upper surface of the leaves.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Hairy
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Stems can reach a length of 30”. They can be green or reddish-green with white hairs. Older plants have less hair. They may also be branched.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Hanging Baskets
    Meadow
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Problems:
    Weedy