Melilotus alba is known by the common names White Sweetclover, White Melilot. According to the United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database, Melilotus alba is now included in the species Melilotus officinalis (Yellow Sweetclover). Melilotus alba grows widely in this area.
At a distance, Melilotus alba and Lespedeza cuneata plants look very similar and a closer inspection may be required to identify the plant. Melilotus alba blooms are ‘concentrated’ along the upper section of a stem bare of leaves; Lespedeza cuneata blooms occur evenly along the stem in leaf axils. Melilotus alba flowers are pure white (with no pink) compared with those of Lespedeza cuneata which have purple accents.
The plant first appears as a single stem…
Then multiple stems develop to produce a ‘bushy’ plant.
The blooms develop individually along the stem.
A close up of the flowers.
Melilotus officinalis (Yellow Sweetclover) is native to Eurasia and grows throughout the United States and Canada.
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- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Melilotus officinalis (Yellow Sweetclover)
- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Melilotus alba
- Southeastern Flora: White Sweetclover (Melilotus alba)
- Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Melilotus alba
- Missouri Plants: Melilotus alba
- 2010: Year Of The Wildflower – Wildflower Index