Yellow Sweet Clover Identification – Melilotus officinalis

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This post is part of our “100 Plants and Mushrooms” series. Here, you’ll see the plant’s main parts – its leaves, flowers, fruits, and more – all with key identification features.

At first glance, the Yellow Sweet Clover (Melilotus officinalis) might seem like just another pretty wildflower, but if you delve a bit deeper, there’s much more to know. Hailing from the vast lands of Europe, this plant belongs to the Fabaceae family, or the pea family, much like beans and lentils we eat.

Yellow Sweet Clover: Key Parts in Photos

Where to find it

So, where can you spot this Yellow Sweet Clover? Look out for open fields or alongside roads. Typically, these plants enjoy areas with a little shade but can grow in full sun too. They’re not too picky about their soil, even growing in places where the soil isn’t that rich in nutrients.

How to identify Yellow Sweet Clover

Yellow Sweet Clover has compound leaves, each with three leaflets. They have tiny teeth along their edges, giving them a jagged appearance. They’re blue-green in color. The stems stand tall and have multiple branches. They’re ridged or grooved, mostly without hairs.

The flowers of the Yellow Sweet Clover are like little rays of sunshine. Arranged in spike-like clusters, these yellow, pea-like, fragrant flowers can measure about ¼ inch long. If you find a fully grown plant, it might look almost bushy, dotted with numerous yellow clusters. But smaller plants might appear less crowded. Yellow Sweet Clover produces a tiny, wrinkled seed pod that carries 1 or 2 seeds.

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