By: Kathryn Kaufman
BLACK MEDICK (MEDICAGO LUPULINA)
The black medick, or Medicago Lulupina, grows pretty much everywhere in lawns throughout my neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky. Front lawns, backyards, grassy medians, you name it. This plant is small but vast, with tiny green bulbous heads covered in yellow flaps that grow upwards towards the peak of the bulb, and long stalks with oblong shaped leaves. I say vast because it covers a lot of ground, mostly parallel to it, and reminds me of ivy that grows across the ground.
The black medick is an invasive, sometimes agricultural plant that is not native to the US or Kentucky. It is native to Europe and Temperate Asia, but it is considered an extremely common weed throughout the US and Southern Canada. It is thought to have been brought over to the US as crop fodder. Also known as yellow trefoil, hop clover, or black clover, black medic is edible and has some medicinal qualities as well! They can be eaten raw (although they aren’t very tasty), and in Europe and Asia it can be stir fried and sauteed like typical leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale. Bees also love to visit the blooms to gather pollen for honey, and I have to be careful walking my dog through grass, so he doesn’t step on a bee.
If you want to know what medicinal and nutritional qualities this plant has, you have to eat a lot of it to experience anything. To get around 30g of protein and fiber, you have to eat 100 grams. It can act as a laxative, an antibacterial agent, and aid in blood clotting. But again, you probably have to eat so much of this weed that you’ll actually turn into a plant.