Genus Melilotus Mill.
Mill., Gard. Dict. ed. 4 (1754) ¹
Fam: Leguminose Juss. (Fabaceae}
English Name: Melilot or Sweet-clover, Kumoniga
Annual, biennial or several years of grass. Leaves triple. Leaflets at the edge more or less serrated, middle leaflet longer stems. Stipules linear wedge to styliform, entire or toothed. Blossoms arranged in cluster, more or less elongate raceme. Calyx bell-shaped with 5 streaks and 5 more or less equal to each other, triangular lugs lanceolate. Corolla white or yellow, much longer than the calyx, drop off. Flag elliptical or ovoid back at the base most often narrowed. Wings longer than the more or less blunted tip of keel. Stamens twin brother-shaped; staminal handles are not extended. Column awl-shaped, at the top bend. Bean balls to ovate, rarely lance rhombic, standing or hanging, not shoot or rarely weakly shoot. Seeds 1 - 2, rarely more, smooth or verrucose. Pollinating insects are propagated by seed.
Economic importance. Forage in meadows and pastures, and hay and silage. Some excellent honey plants. Used in traditional medicine. All bulgarian species contain high amounts of coumarin.
¹ Developed by St. Kozhuharov
From „Флора на НР България”, том VI, БАН, София, (1976)
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Melilotus, known as melilot, sweet clover, and kumoniga (from the Cumans), is a genus in the family Fabaceae (the same family that also includes the Trifolium clovers). Members are known as common grassland plants and as weeds of cultivated ground. Originally from Europe and Asia, it is now found worldwide.
This legume is commonly named for its sweet smell, which is due to the presence of coumarin in its tissues. Coumarin, though responsible for the sweet smell of hay and newly mowed grass, has a bitter taste, and, as such, possibly acts as a means for the plant to discourage consumption by animals. Fungi (including Penicillium, Aspergillus, Fusarium, and Mucor) can convert coumarin into dicoumarol, a toxic anticoagulant. Consequently, dicoumarol may be found in decaying sweet-clover, and was the cause of the so-called sweet-clover disease, recognized in cattle in the 1920s. A few varieties of sweet clover have been developed with low coumarin content and are safer for forage and silage.
The name sweet clover varies orthographically (sweet-clover, sweetclover)
.From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
References: „Флора на НР България”, том VI, БАН, София, (1976), Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Melilotus alba Medic. - White sweetclover, White melilot, Bokhara clover
Melilotus indica (L.) All. - Sweet clover, Indian sweet-clover, …
Melilotus officinalis (L. ) Pall. - Yellow sweet clover, Common melilot
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