Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California
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Annual to tree
Leaves generally compound, alternate, stipuled; leaflets generally entire
Inflorescence: generally raceme, spike, umbel or head; flowers sometime 1–2 in axils
Flowers generally bisexual, generally bilateral; hypanthium generally flat or cup-like; sepals generally 5, fused; petals generally 5, free, or the 2 lower ± fused; stamens 1–many, often 10 with 9 filaments at least partly fused, 1 (uppermost) free; pistil 1, ovary superior, generally 1-chambered, ovules 1–many, style, stigma 1
Fruit: legume, sometimes including a stalk-like base above receptacle, dehiscent, or indehiscent and breaking into 1-seeded segments, or indehiscent, 1-seeded, and achene-like
Seeds 1–several, often ± reniform, generally hard, smooth
Genera in family: ± 650 genera, 18,000 species: worldwide; with grasses, requisite in agriculture and most natural ecosystems. Many cultivated, most importantly Arachis , peanut; Glycine , soybean; Phaseolus , beans; Medicago ; Trifolium ; and many orns
Reference: [Polhill & Raven (eds) 1981 Advances in legume systematics; Allen & Allen 1981 Leguminosae]
Family description and key to genera by Duane Isely.



Duane Isely

Annual or biennial, unarmed
Stem generally erect
Leaves odd-1-pinnate; stipules generally narrow or bristle-like, bases fused to petiole; leaflets 3, margin toothed or wavy
Inflorescence: raceme, axillary or terminal, slender or short-cylindric, many-flowered
Flower: calyx lobes ± equal; corolla yellow or white; 9 filaments fused, 1 free
Fruit indehiscent, 2–4 mm, ovoid, compressed but thick, leathery, ridged or bumpy
Seeds 1–2
Species in genus: 20 species: Eurasia, especially Medit; several species widely cultivated for soil improvement and naturalized
Etymology: (Greek: honey-Lotus)
Reference: [Isely 1954 Proc Iowa Acad Sci 61:119–131]
TOXIC: inclusion in hay enhances production of mold toxins that may cause cattle death from hemorrhaging.


M. officinalis (L.) Pall.


Biennial, ± glabrous to strigose
Stem erect, 0.5–2 m
Leaf: leaflets 1–2.5 cm, elliptic-oblong to obovate, ± toothed
Inflorescence slender; axis generally 3–8 cm when flowers open
Flower: calyx 2–2.5 mm; corolla 4.5–7 mm, yellow
Fruit 3–5 mm, ovoid, irregularly cross-ridged
Seed 1
Chromosomes: 2n=16
Ecology: Open, disturbed sites
Elevation: < 1500 m.
Bioregional distribution: California
Distribution outside California: most of n US, adjacent Canada; native to Eurasia
Flowering time: May–Aug

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bioregional map for MELILOTUS%20officinalis being generated
YOU CAN HELP US make sure that our distributional information is correct and current. If you know that a plant occurs in a wild, reproducing state in a Jepson bioregion NOT highlighted on the map, please contact us with that information. Please realize that we cannot incorporate range extensions without access to a voucher specimen, which should (ultimately) be deposited in an herbarium. You can send the pressed, dried collection (with complete locality information indicated) to us (e-mail us for details) or refer us to an accessioned herbarium specimen. Non-occurrence of a plant in an indicated area is difficult to document, but we will especially value your input on those types of possible errors (see automatic conversion of distribution data to maps).

Retrieve Jepson Interchange Index to Plant Names entry for Melilotus officinalis
Retrieve dichotomous key for Melilotus
Overlay Consortium of California Herbaria specimen data by county on this map
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