yellow sweet-clover
Melilotus officinalis (L.) Lam.


Melilotus alba is an annual to biennial herb that can grow from 3-8 ft. (0.9-2.4 m) tall.
Leaves are alternate, trifoliate with petioles up to 1 in. (2.5 cm) long. Leaflets are greyish green, 1 in. (2.5 cm) long and 0.3 in. (0.85 cm) wide, dentate, and oblong to ovate.
Racemes are 2-6 in. (5.1-15.2 cm) long. Flowers are small, floppy, tubular at base becoming broader toward outer edges, 0.3 in. (0.85 cm) long with 5 petals. Blooming occurs from summer through fall.
Seed pods are smooth or slightly reticulated, 0.3 in. (0.85 cm) long, terminates in a beak, and contains 1 or 2 seeds.
Ecological Threat
Melilotus alba can be found in prairies, fields, vacant lots, along roadsides, and in waste lands. It is native to Europe and Asia.


Selected Images


EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Genus: Melilotus
Subject: Melilotus officinalis (L.) Lam.

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
white sweetclover, yellow sweetclover, sweetclover

Related Scientific Names:
Melilotus album Medik. (Misspelling)


Plants - Forbs/Herbs