Monday, June 20, 2011

Black Medic and Hop Clover

Today I plan on making a post on the differences between hop clover and black medic, and then later the difference between the three species of Ohio locust trees; black, honey, sunburst.

Hop clover and black medic are very difficult to distinguish from each other. They both have very similar leaves, 3 leaves that look like those of the white clover. Their flowers look like those of white clover, only much smaller, and yellow. Both species can grow up to 1-2 feet tall. So with all that information, lets look at a few easy ways to tell them apart.

Black Medic

Black Medic
Black Medic grows to be anywhere from 1-2 feet tall. It seems to be able to be found anywhere (forests, fields, roadsides) and can be commonly found in rather poor soil. Black medic forms a fain amount of branches from the base of the plant. It has compound leaflets with 3 small oval shaped leaves. The center leaflet is slightly longer, and is on a longer stalk than the side leaves. Each leaf has a distinctive "tip" at the end. The flowers are anywhere from 1/8"-1/6" long and are yellow. They are clustered on short stems that emerge from the leaf axil. Each half-inch cluster is composed of up to 50 individual flowers.

Hop Clover
Hop Clover
Hop clover usually grows up to around 1 foot tall. They have a reddish-green sprawling stems. Once again, the leaves are compound, composed of 3 leaflets, the middle one being on a longer petiole.The flowerhead is yellow and can be up to half an inch long. It consists of 15-40 small individual flowers. Hop clover is most commonly found around meadows and along the edges of trails or roads.

Black medic and hop clover are difficult to distinguish from each other. There are two ways I use to tell them apart. Black medic has a "point" at the end of each leaflet. Hop clover has a smother tip. Black medic has a longer center leaflet, surrounded by two shorter leaflets. Hop clover's leaflets are around the same size.

Not only do they look like each other, but they also look similar to many other Ohio plants (yellow wood sorrel, red clover, white clover). Yellow wood sorrel has heart-shaped leaves, while black medic and hop clover have oval leaves. Red clover has dark check marks on its leaves, its leaves also being larger than those of hop clover and black medic. White clover sometimes has white blotches on its leaves. The easiest ways for me to tell white clover from black medic and hop clover are the white flower of white clover, and the leaflets of white clover have petioles similar in length.

1 comment:

  1. OMG thank you so much! this was the most helpful site ive been to.