Wild Flowers of Pittsburgh

White Sweet Clover (Melilotus albus)

The height of its season is the late spring and early summer, but don’t count White Sweet Clover out at any season. This plant was sticking its head through a chain-link fence in Beechview in early November. Imported for fodder, White Sweet Clover and the similar yellow species M. officinalis (almost indistinguishable until the flowers appear) have made themselves at home here to such an extent that some regard them as pests. Nevertheless, as nitrogen-fixers that cattle like to eat, they give us a lot in return for the inconvenience they cause us.

Gray takes Melilotus as feminine, though modern botanists have conspired to claim the name for the masculine side. He describes the genus and species:

MELILOTUS [Tourn.] Hill. MELILOT. SWEET CLOVER.
Flowers much as in Trifolium, but in spike-like racemes, small. Corolla deciduous, free from the stamen-tube. Pod ovoid, coriaceous, wrinkled, longer than the calyx, scarcely dehiscent, 1-2-seeded. Annual or biennial herbs, fragrant in drying, with pinnately 3-foliolate leaves. (Name from meli, honey, and lotos, some leguminous plant.)

M. ALBA Desr. (WHITE M.) Tall; leaflets narrowly obovate to oblong, serrate, truncate or emarginate ; corolla white, 4-5 mm. long, the standard longer than the other petals pod 3-4 mm. long, somewhat reticulate. Rich soil, roadsides, etc., common. (Nat. from Eu.)

About these ads

One response

  1. Pingback: Yellow Sweet Clover (Melilotus officinalis) « Flora Pittsburghensis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.