Melilotus officinalis

yellow sweet clover

Names and Myths

Melilotus Greek meli honey, lotos some legume

officinalis of the shops

Were once classified in Trifolium along with the red and white clovers.

Natural history / Folklore

Naturalized from central Eurasia before 1664. Most sweet clover populations exhibit a biennial life cycle. The white sweet clover is raised for honey production, and bee keepers are credited (blamed) for the plants spread. They improve soil quality, but are invasive and classed as noxious weeds in many states.9

Like other legumes the sweet clovers are nitrogen fixers. It was raised as a forage crop in Europe, it was later discovered that if baled while still moist the coumarin that gives the plant a sweet vanilla flavor is converted into the anticoagulant dicumarol that was able to cause internal hemorrhages in cattle.57


May – October 1.5 to 6 feet tall

M. officinalis  has yellow flowers
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