Description. Common melilot (Latin Melilótus officinális) is a biennial herbaceous plant of Legumes family, Papilionoideae subfamily. There are several folk names of the common melilot: field melilot, king's-clover, yellow melilot, yellow sweet clover, sweet clover, plaster clover, king's-crown, Italian grass, bottom grass. The plant has a straight branchy stem up to 2 meters high, the leaves are ternate and dentate along the edge. The flowers are small, yellow, collected in trusses in large groups, there are about 70-80 flowers of yellow color in one inflorescence. The fruit of the plant is of brown or gray color, the ovoid bean with a length of about 3-4 mm and a width of 1.5-2 mm. One fruit most often contains one seed, but there also occurs to contain two. The seeds are slightly flattened, elongated, smooth, matte, yellow-green in color.
Flowering of the yellow sweet clover occurs in June-September. Flowering lasts a month. Melilot blossoms actively 15-20 days earlier than the sweet clover and for a period of 40-45 days. This plant stands out for its beautiful, luxuriant overground part. Fruits begin to ripen in August. It propagates itself by seeds and gives stem shoots. It is very fertile, one plant produces up to 17 thousand of seeds. Due to the fact that the seeds are in a solid and waterproof shell, they come up with great difficulty. But due to temperature changes (the seeds can undergo frost and thaw in natural environment), the shell cracks and moisture gets to the grain through the cracks. This plant prefers moist soil for growing. The first braird appear in the early spring, but if the moisture is not enough, the seeds can disappear or stop developing.
Having a pleasant smell the common melilot is used for aromatization of tobacco and alcohol products. It withstands easy salinity. In contrast to the sweet clover, the common melilot is more drought-resistant.
It grows in Russia everywhere, besides it is common in Europe, Central Asia, Asia Minor and the Caucasus. Primarily grows on waste grounds, deposits, along roads, on meadows, in quarries.
Application. First of all, common melilot - is an excellent nectariferous plant. Honey, obtained from the common melilot, has excellent taste characteristics, it is of light amber color and has a pleasant aroma very similar to vanilla. Such honey crystallizes with small grits. Melilot honey is considered to be the first-class one. In the same way, common melilot is a fodder for cattle. This plant is able to improve the soil, it is used as a green fertilizer. Melilot enriches the soil with nitrogen and swells it due to its branched root.
All parts of the plant contain a fragrant substance - coumarin, which is well manifested in the dried state. Dried flowers of melilot are often added to tobacco to give a more pleasant smell. Even in folk medicine, there is a place for common melilot. To obtain medicinal raw materials, the inflorescence of the melilot is usually mowed in July. It is during the flowering period that the plant contains the maximum amount of nutrients.
It is widely used in agriculture for fodder purposes.
Seeding rates: 12-16 kg / ha, 0.12-0.16 kg / 100m2, 1.2-1.6 g / m2.