Black Medick, Hop Clover, Nonesuch

Black Medick (Medicago lupulina) colonises some urban habitats and can be found along roadsides, on walls, between tram tracks in gardens or parks. If necessary, it can also survive in parking lots. It belongs to the legume family and is related to white and red clover, but not to the wood sorrel species.

Black Medick

The flowering period of Hop Clover or Nonesuch, as Black Medick is also known, can last from May to October. It grows as an annual or biennial, with creeping or upright shoots that can grow up to 50 centimetres long.

The growth form depends on the habitat. For example, flat-growing specimens can often be found along roadsides or on walls. In semi-shady locations or meadows, hop clover grows upright.

Hop Clover

Medicago lupulina can survive well in villages and towns, as it can cope with dry soil and few nutrients. Its natural range is in Europe and North Africa, in Asia it reaches as far as Korea. As an introduced species it can also be found in Australia, North America and some South American countries.

Black Medick on a parking lot
Black Medick on a parking lot.
Black Medick  at the roadside
Black Medick at the roadside
Hop Clover flowers
Here in Germany Black Medick can show its yellow flowers from May to October.
Black Medick and Hop Trifoil
Black Medick and Hop Trifoil/Field Clover (Trifolium campestre, right): The two species not only look similar, they are also related and can be found growing together.
The black animal is the larva of a ladybird.
Black Medick and Wood Sorrel
Black Medick and Wood Sorrel (Oxalis sp., right) can share habitats but are not related and can be easily distinguished by the shape of their flowers.