Ontario Weeds: Black medick

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Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds, Order this publication

Table of Contents

  1. Name
  2. Other Names
  3. Family
  4. General Description
  5. Stems and Roots
  6. Flowers and Fruit
  7. Habitat
  8. Related Links

Name: Black medick, Medicago lupulina L.,

Other Names: Lupuline, Yellow-clover, luzerne lupuline, minette

Family: Legume or Bean Family (Leguminosae

General Description: Annual, reproducing only by seed. It is distinguished by its compound leaves having 3 oval leaflets, all with shallow teeth towards their tips but only the central one with a definite stalk; the small, nearly spherical clusters of yellow flowers on stalks usually longer than the leaves; and the small clusters of black coiled seedpods produced from those flower heads.

Photos and Pictures

Black Medick

Black Medick

Black medick. A. Plant.
Black medick. A. Plant.
Stems & Roots: Stems wiry, as much as 80 cm (32 in.) long and lying prostrate on the ground, or much shorter and erect or spreading; root slender but very tough and difficult to pull out or hoe off; leaves alternate (1 per node), compound with 3 small oval leaflets shallowly toothed at the tips, the central leaflet with a definite stalk, the leafstalk with a pair of thick stipules at its junction with the stem.

Flowers & Fruit: Flowers individually very small but grouped in dense head-like clusters, about 1 cm (2/5 in.) in diameter, on long stalks from leaf axils; each flower very small, yellow, similar in form to pea or bean flowers; seedpods black (hence the common name), slightly coiled, prominently ridged and hairy or smooth. Flowers from early spring to late autumn, dropping its seed during most of that time.

Habitat: Black medick occurs throughout Ontario in most soil textures. A particularly common weed in lawns, it also grows in gardens, waste places, roadsides, pastures and sometimes in cultivated fields.

Related Links

... on general Weed topics
... on weed identification, order OMAFRA Publication 505: Ontario Weeds
... on weed control, order OMAFRA Publication 75: Guide To Weed Control

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