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Melilotus
SWEETCLOVER

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: LEGUME FAMILY
Habit: Annual to tree. Leaf: generally alternate, generally compound, generally stipuled, generally entire, pinnately veined Inflorescence: generally raceme, spike, umbel or head; or flowers 1--few in axils. Flower: generally bisexual, generally bilateral; hypanthium 0 or flat to tubular; sepals generally 5, generally fused; petals generally 5, free, fused, or lower 2 +- united into keel (see 3, Key to Groups, for banner, wings); stamens 10 or many (or [1], 5, 6, 7, 9), free or fused or 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, including a stalk-like base (above receptacle) or not. Seed: 1--many, often +- reniform, generally hard, smooth.
Genera In Family: +- 730 genera, 19400 species: worldwide; with grasses, requisite in agriculture, most natural ecosystems. Many cultivated, most importantly Arachis, peanut; Glycine, soybean; Phaseolus, beans; Medicago, alfalfa; Trifolium, clovers; many orns. Note: Unless stated otherwise, fruit length including stalk-like base, number of 2° leaflets is per 1° leaflet. Upper suture of fruit adaxial, lower abaxial. Anthyllis vulneraria L. evidently a waif, a contaminant of legume seed from Europe. Laburnum anagyroides Medik., collected on Mount St. Helena in 1987, may be naturalized. Ceratonia siliqua L., carob tree (Group 2), differs from Gleditsia triacanthos L. in having evergreen (vs deciduous) leaves that are 1-pinnate (vs 1-pinnate on spurs on old stems, 2-pinnate on new stems) with 2--5(8) (vs 7--17) 1° leaflets, commonly cultivated, now naturalized in southern California. Aeschynomene rudis Benth. , Halimodendron halodendron (Pall.) Voss (possibly extirpated), Lens culinaris Medik. are agricultural weeds. Caragana arborescens Lam. only cult. Ononis alopecuroides L. , Sphaerophysa salsula (Pall.) DC. all evidently extirpated. Cercidium moved to Parkinsonia; Chamaecytisus to Cytisus; Psoralidium lanceolatum to Ladeania.
eFlora Treatment Author: Martin F. Wojciechowski, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Martin F. Wojciechowski, Thomas J. Rosatti.

Melilotus
Habit: Annual, biennial, unarmed. Stem: generally erect. Leaf: 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, ovate, compressed but thick, leathery, bumpy or not, ridges transverse to finely net-like. Seed: 1--2.
Species In Genus: 20 species: temperate Europe, especially Mediterranean, subtropical Asia, northern Africa, widely introduced, naturalized; several species widely cultivated for forage, green manure, soil improvement. Etymology: (Greek: honey-lotus) Toxicity: TOXIC: inclusion in hay enhances production of mold toxins that may cause cattle death.
eFlora Treatment Author: Kelly Steele & Duane Isely
Jepson Online Interchange
Key to Melilotus

Previous taxon: Medicago truncatula
Next taxon: Melilotus albus

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Citation for this treatment: Kelly Steele & Duane Isely 2016. Melilotus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=9376, accessed on May 28, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on May 28, 2016.


Melilotus albus
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© 2001 Tony Morosco
Melilotus officinalis
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© 2015 Neal Kramer
Melilotus albus
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© 2014 Steve Matson
Melilotus albus
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© 2014 Steve Matson
Melilotus albus
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© 2008 Thomas Stoughton
Melilotus albus
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© 2015 Neal Kramer

More photos of Melilotus in CalPhotos