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  • Melilotus, known as Melilot or Sweet-clover, is a genus in the family Fabaceae. 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 its high content of the perfume agent coumarin. This chemical is responsible for the sweet smell of hay and is bitter to the taste, probably produced by the plant to discourage ingestion by animals.

  • Sweet clover flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies. It has been used to improve forage production for livestock on low forage value sites.

  • Melilotus species possess characteristics such as 1) colonize disturbed areas, 2) produce a large number of seeds, 3) produce extensive root systems and 4) fix nitrogen for their immediate use.

  • Melilotus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including case-bearers of the genus Coleophora that including C. frischella and C. trifolii.

  • Melilotus is often used as a green manure and turned into the soil to increase its nitrogen and organic matter content. It is especially valuable in heavy soils because of its deep rooting.

  • The genus Melilotus currently has nineteen recognized species. The few of among these are Melilotus albus, Melilotus italicus, Melilotus officinalis, Melilotus Suaveolens, Melilotus tauricus.

  • Melilotus officinalis dry extract is obtained from the dried flowering tops of this plant and is standardized to 17-20% coumarin.

  • All species of melilot, when in flower, have a peculiar sweet odour, which by drying becomes stronger and more agreeable, somewhat like that of the Tonka bean.

  • Melilotus species can grow well in nutrient-poor and calcareous soils as well as in drought conditions. These species have a symbiotic relationship with Rhizobium bacteria which permits Melilotus species to grow in nitrogen-depleted soils.

  • Sweetclover contains coumarin which is used as a blood thinner and anticoagulant in
    rat and mouse poisons and also for treating human ailments.

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