Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Melilotus alba Medik.
- Family: Pea (Leguminosae)
- Flowering: May-October
- Field Marks: This species is distinguished by its racemes of small, white, sweetpea-shaped flowers, its 3 leaflets, and its 1-seeded, veiny pod.
- Habitat: Old fields, roadsides, other disturbed areas.
- Habit: Annual or biennial herb with taproots.
- Stems: Upright, branched, up to 6 feet tall, smooth or slightly hairy.
- Leaves: Alternate, divided into 3 leaflets; leaflets lanceolate to oblanceolate to oblong, rounded or pointed at the tip, tapering to the base, smooth on the upper surface, usually with some hairs on the lower surface, toothed, up to 1 1/2 inche
- Flowers: Several crowded into elongated, spike-like racemes; racemes up to 6 inches long.
- Sepals: 5, green, united below.
- Petals: 5, white, unequal in size, up to 1/4 inch long.
- Stamens: 10.
- Pistils: Ovary superior.
- Fruits: Pod ovoid, smooth, 1-seeded, veiny, up to 1/4 inch long.
- Notes: This widely distributed plant is native of Europe and Asia. This is an excellent forage species for livestock.
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