Black Medic?

RustBeltCowgirl Posts: 1,403 ✭✭✭✭✭

Never heard of this one before. Amazing what you've seen and never really looked at.


  • karenjanicki
    karenjanicki Posts: 947 ✭✭✭✭

    I've never heard of this one either. That's interesting.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,218 admin
    edited August 2021

    I've never heard of it either. Actually, rereading the article, I bet I have as yellow trefoil. But you know, there are lots of weeds that I have no idea what the name is.

    I think that now I will have to go looking. There is alfalfa around and we do get some as far of our hay. It's supposed to survive at zone 3 and possibly less.

    It's name should be a beacon to tell everyone that it has a medicinal use. Interesting.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,407 admin

    Black Medic is a common weed in my area. So common that I would never have to plant it and regularly pull it out of my garden as a weed.

    I think the name Black Medic comes from the fact that the seed head is black and the Latin genus name is Medicago.

    It does look a lot more like clover than alfalfa with its little round heads so you can see its other name being Burr Clover.

    Despite the fact that it is edible, if I were going to forage for a Medicago plant, I would choose one of the other alfalfa species, which are also very common weeds in my area. The leaves are bigger and there are more leaves per plant. The Black Medic is a bit leggy. That being said, it has wound up in some of my salads just cause it got pulled up with other weeds I was using.

    There are some cautions for this plant, similar to any alfalfa species. Eat the Weeds has explanations.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,756 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have never heard of this plant but it looks like another one I need to add to my list to try!

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 1,131 ✭✭✭✭

    I have a "weed" that looks like clover with a tiny yellow flower. I have been chop and dropping it to use as fertilizer for some of my other plants, since I want to encourage clovers to companion with things like my blueberries. I have never heard of it by that name (or any other name) I just know that it is a clover by its leaves and flower. It is a dainty looking little plant, with dreams of taking over the world by its growth habits!

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,349 admin

    It grows as a weed in my garden and I usually weed it from my vegetable beds, but there are plenty on the paths. I never ever thought of collecting and using it. Well, one cannot use all the herbs, but it is very useful to know what they are good for. @RustBeltCowgirl thank you for paying attention to it and @torey for giving more information.

  • JennyT Upstate South Carolina
    JennyT Upstate South Carolina Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I had never heard of it either.

    But I do recall seeing something like it earlier in the summer before it got to hot. Maybe it was another in the same species like you have @torey.

    I'll have to double check next year.😊

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    When I was a kid growing up in southeastern Washington state, we knew this plant as Chinese clover. Now I wonder why--it doesn't seem to have much of anything to do with China. It grew all over the place, mostly in lawns, and was considered just another bothersome weed.

    Don't think I have seen it at all here in west-central Missouri, darn it, now that I know it's more-or-less edible.

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 980 ✭✭✭✭

    I'd never heard of it either. I once took a gardening class where they said weeds are plants we don't know the name of. This seems to be a great example of that :)

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,407 admin

    This is a pic of black medic in my kale patch. You can see how the yellow ball head elongates to become the seed head. It hasn't darkened yet.

    This is a pic of a plant at the bottom of my back steps growing through a concrete pad. It is very hardy and will grow almost anywhere.

  • RustBeltCowgirl
    RustBeltCowgirl Posts: 1,403 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @torey Thanks for the great pics. Extremely helpful when needing to identify.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,827 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It looks very similar to clover, and plays a similar role. It is common in disturbed soils and is one of the plants that tries to "take back" areas that have been bulldozed, plowed up and then abandoned, new meadows that have been recently logged, and so forth.

    I wouldn't actively plant it, but I welcome it as a nitrogen fixer and green mulch when turned under in the garden with a hoe.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 713 ✭✭✭✭

    I think I've seen this one. Never harvested though.