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Ribbed Melilot

Melilotus officinalis

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.

Plant Data

Flowering Months:
JAN  FEB  MAR  APR  MAY  JUN  JUL  AUG  SEP  OCT  NOV  DEC
Order:
Fabales
Family:
Fabaceae (Pea)
Also in this family:
Alpine Milk-vetch, Alsike Clover, Birdsfoot, Birdsfoot Clover, Bird's-foot Trefoil, Bithynian Vetch, Bitter Vetchling, Black Broom, Black Medick, Bladder Senna, Broad Bean, Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea, Bur Medick, Burrowing Clover, Bush Vetch, Clustered Clover, Common Broom, Common Gorse, Common Laburnum, Common Restharrow, Common Vetch, Crown Vetch, Dragon's Teeth, Dwarf Gorse, Dyer's Greenweed, False Acacia, Fine-leaved Vetch, Fodder Vetch, Fyfield Pea, Garden Pea, Goat's Rue, Grass Vetchling, Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil, Hairy Bird's-foot Trefoil, Hairy Greenweed, Hairy Tare, Hairy Vetchling, Hairy-fruited Broom, Haresfoot Clover, Hop Trefoil, Horseshoe Vetch, Hungarian Vetch, Kidney Vetch, Knotted Clover, Large Trefoil, Lesser Trefoil, Long-headed Clover, Lucerne, Marsh Pea, Meadow Vetchling, Narrow-leaved Bird's-foot Trefoil, Narrow-leaved Everlasting Pea, Narrow-leaved Vetch, Nootka Lupin, Norfolk Everlasting Pea, Orange Birdsfoot, Petty Whin, Purple Milk-vetch, Purple Oxytropis, Red Clover, Reversed Clover, Rough Clover, Russell Lupin, Sainfoin, Scorpion Senna, Scottish Laburnum, Sea Clover, Sea Pea, Sickle Medick, Slender Bird's-foot Trefoil, Slender Tare, Slender Trefoil, Small Melilot, Small Restharrow, Smooth Tare, Spanish Broom, Spanish Gorse, Spiny Restharrow, Spotted Medick, Spring Vetch, Strawberry Clover, Suffocated Clover, Sulphur Clover, Tall Melilot, Toothed Medick, Tree Lupin, Tufted Vetch, Twin-headed Clover, Two-flowered Everlasting Pea, Upright Clover, Upright Vetch, Western Clover, Western Gorse, White Broom, White Clover, White Lupin, White Melilot, Wild Liquorice, Wood Vetch, Yellow Oxytropis, Yellow Vetch, Yellow Vetchling, Zigzag Clover
Type:
Flower
Life Cycle:
Annual or Biennial
Maximum Size:
150 centimetres tall
Habitats:
Farmland, grassland, roadsides, wasteland.

Flower:
֍
Yellow, 5 petals
 
Lemon yellow spikes of pea-like flowers. The almost identical Tall Melilot is said to have golden-coloured flowers but they are very difficult to tell apart by the flowers alone. Ribbed Melilot is said to have a shorter inner petal in comparison with the outer ones. Tall Melilot has equal sized petals. Ribbed Melilot is also said to have a less dense flower spike.
Fruit:
Pea-like seed pod which typically contains 1 seed per pod. The only reliable way to separate Ribbed Melilot from Tall Melilot is by it's seed pods. Tall Melilot has black, hairy seed pods, and Ribbed Melilot has olive green, hairless seed pods.
Leaves:
Alternate, pinnate leaves, divided into 3 leaflets. Leaflets are oblong to obovate with serrated margins. Each of the leaves have 2 stipules at their leaf bases.
Aroma:
Smells sweet when in flower.
Other Names:
Bokhara Clover, Common Melilot, Field Melilot, Hart's Clover, Hart's Tree, Hay Flower, Honey Clover, King's-crown, Kumoniga, Plaster Clover, Sweet Clover, Sweet Lucerne, Wild Laburnum, Yellow Melilot, Yellow Millet, Yellow Sweet-clover.
Frequency (UK):
Common  
Similar Species:
Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map