€1,50 – €3,50
An annual low species, very melliferous. Black medick is a native legume plant that improves soil structure as it grows. It is very durable, and it perfectly tolerates periodic droughts and frosts.
Wild, non-cultivar seeds.
Polish name: kidney medick, hop medick, “yellow clover”
Latin name: Medicago lupulina
Family: legume Fabaceae
Status in Poland: native and cultivated
The life form and habit of black medick depend heavily on the life conditions of the wild habitat or cultivation. It can function as an annual, wintering biennial or permanent plant.
It develops compound, trifoliate leaves with tongue-shaped stipules, and the middle leaflet is clearly longer than the others. The leaflets are ciliated underneath, serrated at the apex, and inversely elliptical. Stipules are either serrated or whole-edge.
It develops flowers peculiar to the legume family, pectinate, with a five-sepaled calyx and a corolla with five petals, two of which lateral are so-called wings, two lower are transformed into the so-called keel, and the upper transforms into the so-called banner. In the case of black medick, the flowers will be yellow, clustered in heads of 10-20, with a shaggy, obliquely cut calyx, and the wings of the corolla shorter than the keel.
The black medick pods are puffed out, single seeded, therefore tiny and kidney-shaped (hence the Polish name). They can be completely bare to the touch or tightly shaggy with reticular veins.
A single black medick seed comes in a variety of colors and shapes, and can be kidney-shaped or ovate, green or yellow.
The best places are bright and warm, spacing 10-15 cm, and depth up to 15 mm. It likes airy, but fertile and humus soils, with an alkaline reaction. It grows worse on barren soil, completely sandy or gravely, acidic or too heavy and constantly marshy, although it can survive for years on footpaths, roadsides, and railway tracks. It perfectly tolerates periodic droughts, colds and late frosts. It can renew itself for a long time and / or spread to neighboring fields and margins, after the farmer changes the concept, which is why it is sometimes treated as a weed for winter crops, lawns or golf courses.
Black medick (hop medick) is usually sown by three methods. 1) As single species (10-15 kg seeds / ha) 2) mixed with forage grasses (25-30 kg / ha + 80-100 kg / ha of grasses) 3) mixed with barley and / or oats (16-20 kg / ha alfalfa + 80 -100 kg / ha of barley or 140 kg / ha of oats).
Black medick is a plant that new kinds of applications are still being found in human life. For centuries, it has been a valuable element of hay meadows, pastures and bee gardens in the villages. It is also part of special crop rotations as a plant restoring soil fertility. This is a good species for urban meadows and flower containers.
It was eaten as a vegetable (after boiling poisonous saponins) by Native Americans, and from its roasted seeds were roasted flatbreads. Currently, it is eaten more and more often in salads, soups and sauces. Doctors and nutritionists, however, advise against eating larger portions of black medick because its proteins are poorly digestible for humans, and even make it difficult to absorb other, complementary proteins from leguminous vegetables, nuts and meat.
It is characterized by similar advantages to the common bird’s-foot trefoil:a long flowering period from May to September, and a great lure for insects. Like other legumes, it provides both pollen and nectar to bees .