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Electronic Flora of South Australia genus Fact Sheet

Family: Leguminosae
Melilotus

Citation: Miller, Gard. Dict. edn 4 (1754).

Derivation: Greco-Latin name of these plants, from Greek meli, honey; lotos, lotus.

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: None

Description:
Annual, biennial or short-lived perennial herbs; leaves trifoliolate, peltate, upper leaflet distal from the lateral ones, leaflets usually toothed; stipules adnate to the petiole.

Flowers in long axillary pedunculate racemes, often fragrant or scentless in the same species; calyx with 5 subequal teeth on a pedicel longer or shorter than the tube, at first upright, later recurved; corolla mostly yellow or white; petals free, deciduous, free from the staminal tube; 9 stamens united round the ovary, the tenth free, facing the standard, the filaments not dilated; ovary with 2-8 ovules.

Pod globose to obovoid, indehiscent, exceeding the calyx, 1- or 2-seeded, obliquely globose-reniform, yellow to grey-green, smooth to papillose.

Distribution:  About 25 species in temperate regions.

Biology: No text

Uses: Good fodder plants. (O. E. Schulz (1901) Bot. Jb. 29:660-735.)

Key to Species:
1. Stipules dentate or if subdentate then the corolla 2-3 mm long; annuals
 
2. Inflorescence 3-10-flowered, corolla 6-9 mm long; calyx 10-nerved; pod long, acute, 6-8 mm long, concentrically striated
M. messanensis 3.
2. Inflorescence 10-60-flowered, corolla 2-3 mm long, calyx 5-nerved; pod subglobose, obtuse, 2-3 mm long, reticulate-wrinkled
M. indica 2.
1. Stipules entire; corolla c. 3 mm or more long; biennials
 
3. Corolla white; wings equalling the keel; pod reticulate-wrinkled; ovary 2-4-ovulate
M. alba 1.
3. Corolla yellow; wings longer than the keel; pod strongly wrinkled transversally; ovary 5-8-ovulate
M. officinalis 4.

Author: Not yet available


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