Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Southern Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Melilotus officinalis Lam.
- Family: Pea (Fabaceae)
- Flowering: June-September
- Field Marks: This species has compound leaves with 3 leaflets and elongated clusters of
- Habitat: Moist to dry soil in fields, roadsides, and disturbed areas.
- Habit: Annual herb with fibrous roots.
- Stems: Upright, branched, usually smooth, up to 7 feet tall.
- Leaves: Alternate, divided into 3 leaflets; leaflets oblong, rounded at the tip, tapering to the base,
toothed, smooth or sometimes hairy, up to 1 inch long.
- Flowers: Many, borne in slender clusters up to 4 inches long.
- Sepals: 5, green, united below.
- Petals: 5, yellow, arranged to form a typical pea-shaped flower, the largest petal about 1/6 inch
- Stamens: 10.
- Pistils: Ovary superior.
- Fruits: Pods up to 1/6 inch long, usually slightly hairy, with a honeycomb appearance.
- Notes: This species is visited by bees and is a good honey species. It is also used for hay.
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