Ribbed Melilot - Melilotus officinalis


Medium to tall hairless plant to 2.5 metres tall with spreading to erect stems. Flowers yellow, 4 to 7 mm, in slender lax racemes, the wings longer than the keel. Glabrous seeds.

Similar Species

Tall Melilot (Melilotus altissima)

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

The keel (lowest petal) is shorter than the wings (side petals) and the standard (top petal).  Wings and standard are about equal in length.   Fruits brown and glabrous when ripe

Recording advice

A photo of the plant in its habitat, plus a side on view of flowers, or fruits.


A weed of rough waste ground, but sometimes on cultivated land, and preferring heavier soils.

When to see it

July to September.

Life History

Annual or perennial.

UK Status

Widespread in England south of the Tyne, but rarer in the west.

VC55 Status

Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 107 of the 617 tetrads.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map