Black Medic – Medicago lupulina

One of several similar and common yellow flowered species. In the wider countryside it is easy to mistake this species for Hop Trefoil (Trifolium campestre), Large Hop Trefoil (Trifolium aureum) or Lesser Hop Trefoil (Trifolium dubium).

However Black Medic can be distinguished from these species by way of a tiny point seen at the apex of each leaflet as shown below.

Leaflets of Black Medic showing fine point. 21st June 2022

This species is often considered an early coloniser of grassland and a sign that, botanically at least, things are starting to improve. We didn’t specifically add any Black Medic seed to the garden, and even if it was part of the Meadow Mix we have used, we didn’t sow any in this exact location. As such we are unsure as to whether we have introduced this species or if it has arrived of its own accord. It is found at Eastwood Farm nearby.

21st June 2022

Either way it’s a very welcome addition to the open established grass area where we have retailed the old lawn mix. It will certainly be welcome to many invertebrates as a source of Nectar. It is a species of clover and as such can fix atmospheric Nitrogen which may gradually increase the Nitrogen levels in the soil, something we would prefer not to happen. However we feel this should be more than counter balanced by the removal of grass cuttings, which should gradually reduce the nutrients available in the soil.

DC: 21/06/2022