Ascending or erect annual 2-6 dm; racemes very densely fld, 3-8 cm; pedicels at anthesis 0.5-0.8 mm, ascending; fls yellow, 2-3 mm; cal-teeth lance-oblong, obtuse; fr 1.5-3 mm, strongly reticulate-veiny; otherwise as no. 2 [Melilotus officinalis (L.) Pall.]; 2n=16. Native of the Mediterranean region, now a cosmopolitan weed, abundant in the s. and Pacific states, and adventive in our range. Summer.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
Duration: Annual Nativity: Non-Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Erect annual to 1 m tall with glabrous herbage or leaves and inflorescences sparsely appressed-pubescent when young, stipules subulate or narrowly lanceolate, 3-8 mm long. Leaves: Slender petioles to 5 cm long, leaflets cuneate-oblong to obovate, 3-12 mm wide, 1-2.5 cm long, obtuse, rounded or truncate, denticulate. Flowers: Peduncles surpass subtending leaves, racemes numerous, 2-10 cm long, about 5 mm in diameter; flowers 2.5 mm long, calyx half as long, its teeth triangular, sparsely ciliolate, pealike, petals yellow. Fruits: Ovoid pods 2-2.5 mm long, reticulate, glabrous, usually 1-seeded. Ecology: Occasional along roadsides, ditches, in fields, and in disturbed areas; flowers April-September. Distribution: Introduced to much of the U.S. except CO and KS, north to central CAN.; south to S. Amer.; throughout the world on every continent. Notes: Widespread introduced ruderal with yellow flowers, distinguished from M. officinalis by being <1m tall; having smaller flowers < 2.5mm and being solely annual, and from M. albus by having yellow flowers. Ethnobotany: Used as a bed bug repellant, as a strong laxative, and for games. Etymology: Melilotus is from Greek meli, honey and lotos, a leguminous plant, while indicus refers to India. Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015