White and Yellow Sweet Clovers
White sweet clover (Melilotus albus) and yellow sweet clover (M. officinale) are biennial herbs that are easy to identify while in flower. Flowers are crowded densely on the top 4 inches of an elongated stem, with younger flowers emerging nearest the tip. Each tiny flower is attached to the stem by a minute stalk. The small pea-like flowers are white or yellow, and each produces one or two seeds during the plant’s second growing season. Bloom May through October. Leaves are alternate, compound, with 3 leaflets per leaf. Leaflets are finely toothed and longer than broad. Second-year plants may appear bushy. These aromatic (sweet or musky) plants are members of the bean or pea (legume) family, but they are “sweet clovers,” not true clovers.