Melilotus hirsutus Lipsky - Hairy melilot.

Taxonomic position.

Family Fabaceae Lindl., genus Melilotus L.

Morphology and biology.

Biennial plant. Stem straight, 0.5 to 1 m or more tall, covered with short adpressed hairs, especially in the upper part of the plant. Stipules narrow, subulate, entire. Leaf petioles short. Lower leaves obovate or suborbicular. Upper leaves oblong, narrower. Leaves beneath covered with short adpressed hairs, above less hairy. Leaf margins dentate, with 8-10 denticles at each side of the leaf. Inflorescence a raceme, covered with hairs, 3-4 cm long, elongating when flowering. Flowers about 5 mm long, calyx incised halfway down, hairy. Corolla pale yellow. Standard, keel and wings of the same length. Ovary 2 times shorter than style, with two ovules. Pods 6 mm long, 2.5 mm wide, 1.5 mm thick, pendant, with acuminate apex, obovoid. Pod valves reticulately wrinkled, covered with rigid hairs. Corolla parts persistent on the fruit when mature. Seeds smooth, dark. Flowers in June, fruits in July. Entomophilous. Zoochore.


General distribution: Caucasus. Former USSR: Caucasus - Southwest Ciscaucasia, West Transcaucasia. Endemic to Caucasus.


Cliffs of seaside rocks, valley shingle.

Use and economic value.

Wild relative of cultivated species, white and ribbed melilots.


Galushko AI. 1980. Flora of the North Caucasus: Handbook. V.2. P.130-131. (In Russian).
Grossheim AA. 1952. Flora of Caucasus. 2nd ed. V.5. P.192-194. (In Russian).
Shishkin BK., ed. 1945. Flora URSS. V.11. P. 187-188. (In Russian).
Cherepanov SK. 1995. Vascular plants of Russia and adjacent states (the former USSR). St.Petersburg. 990 p. (In Russian).

© T.N.Smekalova

© Photo L.Yu.Shipilina

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