BLACK MEDIC, Medicago
lupulina L. 1, part of plant in bloom; 2, pod and
seed. Annual, biennial, or perennial, reproducing
by seed, with shallow taproot. Stems slender, branched, spreading,
1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 cm) long. Leaves have 3 leaflets, the center
one on a short stalk. Flowers are 1/16 inch (1.5 mm) long, yellow,
in dense, globular spikes borne on short branches from the stem. Seed
pods black, coiled, with thick walls, each pod containing 1 seed.
Seeds yellowish-green, kidney-shaped. Found in lawns, pastures
and meadows. Common and objectionable as an impurity in alsike clover seed,
sometimes in other legume seeds. Grown for forage, but is small-yielding.
Will inoculate soil for alfalfa.