Melilotus officinalis, a very aromatic herbaceous

Today we find a very characteristic plant. It is known as yellow sweet clover or yellow clover. By these names you will already know that its flowering is obviously yellow. One of the things that attract our attention about this herbaceous is its characteristic smell and the use that is given to this plant.

We will tell you the family to which it belongs, its botanical characteristics and a little of everything. Let’s get to know it in greater depth.


Melilotus officinalis belongs to the Legume family . From this family we find many plants of great interest to humans. We mention: 

And a long etc. We all know the importance of legumes to fix nitrogen. Apart from the fruits that some of its plants produce, they can also be used for green manures . 

The interest of  Melilotus officinalis  is medicinal and forage. This means that it will be part of the livestock feed, such as grass. Although good, then we will see the problems it can cause.


Melilotus officinalis is an annual herbaceous plant that can be biennial (24 months of biological cycle) or annual (12 months of biological cycle). It rarely reaches a meter in height, especially because of the poor conditions in which it grows. It is a highly branching plant, has a large root (it may be appropriate for the physical improvement of soils), yellow flowering and fruit in the form of a legume.

In general, these types of plants such as Melilotus officinalis  have rapid, spontaneous growth, a short life cycle and a large seed spread. This makes possible its geographical expansion and the possibility of covering large areas with little effort.



Melilotus officinalis is a herbaceous plant that grows in rough (attention to the word) environments.

What does ruderal mean?

Ruderal plant : plant that grows in environments that have been modified by humans. They can be roadsides or highways, rocky environments, semi-urban areas, etc. They tend to have a great capacity for adaptation and propagation, spontaneous growth and high resistance (climate, soil and pests and diseases).

It has great growth power, and will do so by adapting very well to climate and soil conditions. Whether they are dry or puddled, with clay or sand. It is quite typical of the Fabaceae  family and any legume.

It prefers to grow in environments with full coverage of lighting and solar radiation. However, it is also capable of thriving in gloomy environments.

Nor does it present problems with respect to the pH of the soil , having a wide margin of adaptation, either acidic or basic. As for this, there will not be many soils that will hinder the growth of  Melilotus officinalis.


Rather scarce. It grows in feral areas that are far from human risk. Its roots are very well attached to the ground and are capable of strongly absorbing moisture. In fact, yellow sweet clover  can have a great opportunity to cover areas susceptible to erosion.

The ability to fix nitrogen in a biological way and its symbiosis with the Rhizobium that fix atmospheric nitrogen makes the incorporation of any fertilizer, whether natural or chemical, unnecessary.

Something to highlight about Melilotus officinalis  is, as we have hinted in previous lines, its good behavior on alkaline (even saline), dry and poor soils.


Yes. Let’s see them, as well as the main precautions to be taken.

Each plant has, in its own way, some property that can be used by humans. As a medicinal,  Melilotus officinalis  is used to reduce fluid retention, to reduce snoring while sleeping, soothing throat inflammations, etc.

However, you have to be careful because in certain amounts it becomes toxic. This is due to the glycoside coumarin (C 9 H 6 O 2). When animals ingest yellow sweet clover in large quantities, it causes internal bleeding. This is because it is an anticoagulant compound .

This, although it can be a problem for the natural environment, is a great opportunity for medicine. With coumarin (although by itself it does not have anticoagulant properties, but the presence of certain fungi is required) it is possible to produce drugs that reduce the problems of thrombus formation in humans.

In the United States there have been serious cases of animal poisoning , when the grass was fed solely and exclusively on this plant

There is also a drawback that we have to mention and that is also potentially toxic. It can accumulate nitrates in harmful properties for anyone who feeds on it, so, added to the glycoside, it does not make it a very common forage for feeding by animals.

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