Norwich Naturalist's picture

Trefoil or medick

Observed: 18th May 2013 By: Norwich NaturalistNorwich Naturalist’s reputation in PlantsNorwich Naturalist’s reputation in PlantsNorwich Naturalist’s reputation in Plants

Growing on a grassy edge to a road. I know Lesser Trefoil and Black Medick are difficult to separate, and there might not be enough detail on the photo!

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Lesser Trefoil (Trifolium dubium) interacts


cerigait's picture

Pointed mucronate tip on leaves

Pointed mucronate tip on leaves of Black Medick.

Lesser or Hop Trefoil don't have this tip.

Tim Rich's picture

but is has small heads,

but is has small heads, relative deep yellow flowers and I can't see a mucronata tip. Trifolium dubium!

Tim Rich

lavateraguy's picture

I usually wait for fruits to distinguish ...

... the two species as I can't see the mucrons without my reading glasses, but I would have called this as Trifolium dubium on jizz. However, when primed by Cerigait's ID I though I saw a few mucrons - but on looking again they may just be something behind lining up the the leaf midribs.

cerigait's picture

I can see points but perhaps not the little tooth...oops

I can see what you mean Tim.
I do see points on some of leaves (typically in the section that my iPhone settled on when I expanded image.) Top right hand quarter near centre. There are many without too.

Looking on PC monitor instead I think I've seen a pointed leaf tip as a tooth.
Oops - sorry to confuse lavaterguy!

cerigait's picture

Hope this helps all!

Hangs head in shame and attaches link to try to undo any damage she's done :(.

Will book myself into Specsavers I think Lol

Tim Rich's picture

never easy from photos, you

never easy from photos, you wouldn't confuse them in real plants

Tim Rich

cerigait's picture



Norwich Naturalist's picture


Thanks to everyone for their identifications, comments and the crib sheet. I've also learnt a new word ("mucronate").


Rachy Ramone's picture

I'm always learning new words!

James, fyi, Medicago lupulina is "downy", the stem and the leaves are covered in fine hairs, there's a good close-up photo on this page:

Whereas the trefoils have a "few, scattered hairs" (Rose).

Which doesn't help when making an ID from a photo, of course...and if you are close enough to check the down, you are close enough to check the tips of the leaves!

Hope this helps for next time, anyway.

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:

Norwich Naturalist's picture

Hand lens at the ready then

Thanks for that, it's always handy to have a few different features to look for. Next time I'm that way I'll have a better look at this plant so that I have something to compare against.