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Melilotus officinalis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Trifolieae
Genus: Melilotus
Species: M. officinalis
Binomial name
Melilotus officinalis
(L.) Pall.

Yellow Sweet Clover (Melilotus officinalis), also known as Yellow Melilot or Common Melilot is a species of legume of in the family Fabaceae, native to Eurasia and introduced in North America, Africa and Australia.



This biennial plant is 2 to 4 feet high at maturity and blooms from in spring and summer. Flowers are yellow. Its characteristic sweet odor, intensified by drying, is derived from coumarin. It has a bitter taste.


This plant is very common as it can adapt itself to various soils (but especially likes alkaline soils) and climates. It is resistant to drought and has abundant seed production. In some areas it is an invasive species. Common places where it can be found include prairies, abandoned fields, roadsides, and railroad ballasts. It does not tolerate dense shade.


Sweet Clover contains coumarin that converts to dicoumarol (a powerful anticoagulant toxin) when the plant becomes moldy. This can lead to bleeding diseases (internal hemorrhaging) and death in cattle. Consequently, hay containing the plant must be properly dried and cured, especially in wet environments.[1] In the chemical industry dicoumarol is extracted from the plant to produce rodenticide.

Medicinal uses

It has been often used in herbal medicine to fight hypertension and insomnia. Naturopaths claim that it helps promote lymphatic drainage and reduces fluid retention, particularly in the tissues of the vein wall.

Others uses

This plant is used for agricultural purposes mainly. It is grown as hay despite its toxic properties when moldy. It is considered an excellent green manure. Also, Sweet Clover is a major source of nectar for domestic honey bees. Flowers and seeds and can be used as flavouring.



External links



Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Melilotus officinalis


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordo: Fabales
Familia: Fabaceae
Subfamilia: Faboideae
Tribus: Trifolieae
Genus: Melilotus
Species:Melilotus officinalis


Melilotus officinalis (L.) Pall.

Vernacular names

Česky: Komonice lékařská
Deutsch: Gelber Steinklee
English: Yellow Sweet Clover or Yellow Melilot
Français: Mélilot jaune
Nederlands: Citroengele honingklaver
Русский: Донник лекарственный
Svenska: Gul sötväppling
Türkçe: Sarı taş yoncası
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Melilotus officinalis on Wikimedia Commons.


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