Black Medick

Black_Medick_jpgThis family (Fabaceae) commonly called the Pea or Bean Family consists of 459 genera and 14,400 species of herbs, shrubs, vines and trees found in temperate, cold and tropical regions.  The family is of major economic importance, providing edible beans and peas for animals, ornamentals, and dyes. The seeds can be eaten as is or ground into a flour. Another plant in this genus (Medicago sativa), known by the common name of  Alfalfa, was used in folk medicine to treat diabetes and thyroid conditions.  Today it is recognized that Alfalfa contains many pharmacologically active ingredients that act upon the cardiovascular, nervous and digestive systems.

OtherCommonName:

Nonesuch

ScientificName:

Medicago lupulina

Community:

Edge

PlantStatus:

Naturalized native of Eurasia

LifeSpan:

Annual or Biennial

PlantHeight:

Prostrate with ascending stems to 3 feet

FruitingTime:

Fruit persists to early November

Distribution:

Statewide in NJ as a common weed

FloweringTime:

Early April to late October; most May and June

IdentifyingCharacteristics:

Prostrate ~ Downey stems ~ tightly coiled, one-seeded black seed pod ~ Three leaflets with fine bristle-tip ~ Clover-like yellow flower