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Black Medic looks like a sprawling Trifolium sp. (Clover) with small yellow flowerheads, however it is more closely related to Medicago sativa (Alfalfa). This is because their seedpods have a similar structure, although the seedpods of Alfalfa are more coiled than those of Black Medic. Other species in this genus include Medicago arabica (Spotted Medic) and Medicago orbicularis (Round Medic). These latter species are rare in Illinois and their seedpods are strongly coiled and spiny. Generally, all of these species have been introduced from Eurasia as a source of forage for livestock or to replenish agricultural soil with nitrogen.


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers


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