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Small Melilot

Melilotus indica

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.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Fabaceae (Pea)
Also in this family:
Alpine Milk-vetch, Alsike Clover, Birdsfoot, Birdsfoot Clover, Bird's-foot Trefoil, Bithynian Vetch, Bitter Vetch, 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, Crimson Clover, Crown Vetch, Dragon's Teeth, Dwarf Gorse, Dyer's Greenweed, False Acacia, Fine-leaved Vetch, Fodder Vetch, Garden Lupin, 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, 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, Ribbed Melilot, 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 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, Tuberous Pea, 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
Life Cycle:
Annual or Biennial
Maximum Size:
1 metre tall
Fields, grassland, roadsides, wasteland.

Yellow, 5 petals
Small yellow, pea-like flowers. The flowers appear in spikes. Differs from Ribbed Melilot (Melilotus officinalis) in its smaller flowers. The flowers are 2 to 3mm across in size. Pollinated by bees.
The fruit is a hairless, net-veined, dark green, pea-like pod.
An erect annual or biennial flower with toothed, trefoil leaves. Similar in appearance to Ribbed Melilot (Melilotus officinalis) but not as tall.
Other Names:
Annual Yellow Sweetclover, Bokhara Clover, Californian Lucerne, Common Melilot, Hexham Scent, Indian Sweet-clover, King Island Clover, King Island Melilot, Small-flowered Melilot, Small-flowered Sweet Clover, Sour Clover, Sweet Clover, Sweet Melilot, Sweet-clover.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Melilotus indica, also known as Indian sweet clover, is a species of annual or biennial plant in the Fabaceae family. It is native to Asia and North Africa and typically found growing in disturbed areas such as roadsides, waste places and grassland. The plants can grow to a height of 1 meter and produce clusters of small yellow flowers. The leaves are divided into 3 leaflets and are hairy. Like other Melilotus species, Melilotus indica is known to have medicinal properties such as expectorant and diuretic properties. It is also used as a source of food for cattle, green manure and it fixes Nitrogen in the soil, improving soil health.


Melilotus indica, commonly known as Small Melilot, is a plant species that belongs to the family Fabaceae. It is native to India but can now be found in many parts of the world. Small Melilot is a herbaceous annual plant that grows up to 100 cm in height. The plant has thin, wiry stems that are covered with fine hairs, giving them a fuzzy appearance. The leaves are trifoliate, with three leaflets arranged in a fan shape. The leaflets are oblong and have serrated edges. The flowers are small and yellow, arranged in clusters on the stems. The plant blooms from June to August.

Small Melilot is known for its medicinal properties. The plant contains coumarins, which are compounds that have anticoagulant and vasodilator properties. Coumarins are used in the treatment of various health conditions such as blood clots, high blood pressure, and migraine headaches. Small Melilot is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to treat inflammation and pain.

Small Melilot has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. In Ayurveda, the plant is used to treat a variety of ailments such as fever, cough, and digestive disorders. The plant is also used in Chinese medicine to treat circulatory disorders and to improve blood flow.

Small Melilot is easy to grow and requires minimal care. It prefers well-drained soil and can tolerate a range of soil pH levels. The plant can be grown from seed and should be sown in early spring. Small Melilot should be watered regularly but not overwatered, as the plant is susceptible to root rot.

Small Melilot is a versatile plant that has numerous medicinal properties. The plant is easy to grow and requires minimal care, making it an excellent addition to any herb garden. Small Melilot has been used in traditional medicine for centuries and is still used today to treat a variety of health conditions. If you are looking for a natural remedy for your health problems, consider adding Small Melilot to your treatment plan.

Small Melilot is not only used for its medicinal properties but also has a variety of other uses. The plant has been used in the textile industry to make yellow dye from its flowers. In some cultures, the plant is used as a natural insecticide to repel pests from crops. Additionally, Small Melilot is a valuable source of nectar for bees and other pollinators, making it an important plant for maintaining biodiversity.

Small Melilot is often used in landscaping and can be used to add color and texture to gardens. The plant is also used in erosion control as it has a deep taproot that helps to stabilize soil. Small Melilot can be used as a cover crop to improve soil quality and is often planted as a green manure.

Although Small Melilot is generally safe to use, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using it for medicinal purposes. Some individuals may have an allergic reaction to the plant or may experience side effects from the coumarin content. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid using Small Melilot as it may have harmful effects on fetal development and infant health.

Small Melilot is a plant that has been used in traditional medicine and is still used today to treat a variety of health conditions. Its use is not limited to humans as it is also used in veterinary medicine. In some cultures, Small Melilot is used to treat gastrointestinal disorders and skin infections in animals.

Small Melilot has also been used in the cosmetic industry as an ingredient in skincare products. The plant contains compounds that have antioxidant properties and can help to reduce inflammation and improve skin health. Small Melilot is used in creams, lotions, and serums to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots.

The plant is also used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation and reduce stress. Small Melilot essential oil is extracted from the flowers and has a sweet, floral scent. The oil is used in diffusers, massage oils, and bath products to help promote relaxation and improve mood.

Small Melilot is a plant that has a long history of use and continues to be used in various fields. Its versatility makes it a valuable plant that is used in different industries. However, it is important to use Small Melilot responsibly and to consult with a healthcare professional before using it for medicinal purposes.

Small Melilot is a plant that can be grown in different regions around the world. In addition to its medicinal, cosmetic, and culinary uses, Small Melilot is also a beneficial plant for the environment. The plant is a nitrogen fixer, meaning it has the ability to convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that can be used by plants. This process helps to improve soil fertility and can reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers, which can be harmful to the environment.

Small Melilot is also used in phytoremediation, a process that uses plants to remove pollutants from the soil. The plant has been shown to be effective in removing heavy metals such as lead and cadmium from contaminated soils. This makes Small Melilot a valuable plant for cleaning up polluted sites and improving the overall health of the environment.

In addition to its environmental benefits, Small Melilot is also a source of food for livestock. The plant is high in protein and is often used as a forage crop for cattle, sheep, and goats. The plant is also used to make hay and silage, which can be stored and used as feed during the winter months.

In conclusion, Small Melilot is a plant that has many uses and benefits. Its versatility makes it a valuable addition to different fields, including agriculture, medicine, and environmental remediation. As with any plant, it is important to use Small Melilot responsibly and to consult with experts before using it for any purpose.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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