E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Medicago lupulina L.
black medic (black medick)
Fabaceae (Pea family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #74358)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Medicago lupulina
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Species Information

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Annual or sometimes short-lived perennial herb; stems prostrate to erect, 10-50 cm long, branched from the base, downy.
Alternate, pinnately compound; leaflets 3, egg-shaped with a wedge-shaped base, 0.5-2 cm long, not spotted, hairy to glabrous, the upper margins toothed; stipules entire to shallowly toothed, lanceolate, not sheathing, 3-6 mm long.
Inflorescence a compact, spike-like, axillary raceme of 10 to 40 pea-like flowers, the racemes to 1 cm long on stalks equalling or longer than the leaves; corollas yellow, 2-3 mm long; calyces bell-shaped, about 1 mm long.
Pods, kidney-shaped, coiled through about one spiral, 2-3 mm long, unarmed, net-ridged, glabrous or short-hairy, becoming black; seeds 1.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry fields, roadsides and waste places; common in BC S of 56degreeN, rare on the Queen Charlotte Islands, absent on N Vancouver Island; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Medicago lupulina

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 122 966 2240
Slope Gradient (%) 0 15 210
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 193 355
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 3 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(4), ESSF(7), ICH(14), IDF(185), MS(33), PP(60)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Medicago lupulina var. cupaniana (Guss.) Boiss.
Medicago lupulina var. glandulosa Neilr.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References