Page author: David Giblin
Melilotus officinalis
yellow sweet-clover
WTU specimens
Other herbaria

Distribution: Widely distributed throughout Washington; introduced throughout the United States

Habitat: Widespread weed of roadsides and waste ground.

Flowers: May-September

Origin: Introduced

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Herbaceous biennial from a strong taproot, the stem 0.5-3 m. tall, freely branched above, glabrous to pubescent.


Leaves trifoliate, the leaflets elliptic to oblanceolate, 1.5-3 cm. long, serrate almost to the base.


Inflorescence of several elongate, spike-like racemes 3-12 cm. long, arising in the leaf axils, with linear bracts about 2 mm. long; flowers small, pea-like, white or yellow, about 5 mm. long; calyx teeth 5, equal, narrowly lanceolate.


Pod 3-4 mm. long.

Accepted Name:
Melilotus officinalis (L.) Lam.
Publication: Reise Russ. Reich. 3: 537. 1776.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Melilotus officinalis in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Melilotus officinalis checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Melilotus officinalis atlas page.

CalPhotos: Melilotus officinalis photos.

USDA Plants: Melilotus officinalis information.

25 photographs:
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