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Melilotus albus - Medik.
Common Name White Melilot
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards Dried leaves can be toxic though the fresh leaves are quite safe[76]. This is due to the presence of coumarin, the substance that gives some dried plants the smell of new mown hay. Taken internally it can prevent the blood from clotting[207].
Habitats Fields and waste places on dry, not acid soils[17].
Range Europe to W. Asia. Naturalized in Britain.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun


Melilotus albus White Melilot

Melilotus albus White Melilot
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Melilotus albus is a ANNUAL/BIENNIAL growing to 1.2 m (4ft) at a fast rate.
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It can fix Nitrogen.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.


Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Oil;  Seed;  Seedpod.
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Oil.

Leaves and seedpods - cooked as a 'bean soup'[8, 105, 172]. The pea-like seeds are used as a seasoning for bean and split-pea soups[183]. Young shoots - raw or cooked[8, 172]. Added to salads or used as a potherb[183]. Only fresh shoots should be used[62], the dried leaves contain coumarin[207]. Flowers - raw or cooked[172]. Used as a vanilla-like flavouring[177, 183]. The dried leaves are said to be used as a vanilla flavouring[172] but this is probably unwise, see notes at top of the page.
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Anticoagulant;  Aromatic;  Carminative;  Emollient;  Poultice.

The whole herb, harvested when in flower, is aromatic, carminative and emollient[4]. It was at one time widely esteemed as a medicinal herb, though it has fallen from favour in recent times[4]. The dried leaves contain coumarin, this can be used as an anticlotting agent for the blood[207]. The dried flowering plant has been used in ointments for external ulcers[222].


Other Uses
Green manure;  Oil;  Repellent.

An oil obtained from the seed is used in paints, varnishes etc[114]. The dried leaves smell of new-mown hay and are used as an insect repellent[172]. The dried leaves contain a substance called coumarin, this is an anti-clotting agent and has been used as a basis of the rat killer 'warfarin'[207]. The plant is a good green manure crop[20, 87, 172]. It can be sown in the autumn and overwintered or sown from spring to mid summer. It can be cut several times for compost material before being finally incorporated into the soil[87]. Fast growing, it produces a high bulk of organic material and also fixes a large quantity of atmospheric nitrogen[87]. It can also be grown under soft and top fruit, when it will expel mice[82].
Cultivation details
A fast growing plant[87], it dislikes shade. A good bee plant[4, 46]. The dried plant has a sweet smell of newly mown hay[245]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200].
Seed - sow spring to mid-summer in situ[87]. Pre-soaking the seed for 12 hours in warm water will speed up the germination process, particularly in dry weather[K]. Germination will usually take place within 2 weeks.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Melilotus altissimusTall Melilot, Tall yellow sweetclover20
Melilotus elegansElegant sweetclover10
Melilotus indicusAnnual Yellow Sweetclover12
Melilotus officinalisMelilot, Sweetclover23
Melilotus suaveolensSweetclover11
Melilotus wolgicusSweetclover10


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Subject : Melilotus albus  

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