Melilotus neapolitanus Ten. - Neapolitan melilot.

Taxonomic position.

Family Fabaceae Lindl., genus Melilotus Mill.

Main synonyms:

M. gracilis DC., M. parviflorus Stev. ex Trautv.

Morphology and biology.

Annual plant. Stems straight, branched, 15-40 cm tall, pubescent with pubescence stronger in the upper part of plant. Stipules lanceolate, acuminate, entire, 3-4 mm long. Leaflets oblong-cuneate, somewhat obtuse at the apex. Leaflets of upper leaves indistinctly dentate at margins, sometimes pubescent beneath with long hairs. Inflorescence a dense raceme of 5-15 flowers, 1-2 cm long, elongated when in fruit. Pedicels about 1 mm long. Flowers 4-5 mm long, light yellow, horizontally deflected. Calyx 2 mm long, thin, pubescent up to the half. Calyx teeth acuminate. Standard as long as keel, wings slightly shorter. Ovary broadly lanceolate, sessile, pubescent with short adpressed hairs, with two ovules. Pods glabrous, 3 mm long and wide, subspherical, at the end attenuate into a beak. Pod valves pitted-wrinkled when mature. Seeds smooth, about 2 mm long, brown, finely tuberculate, 1 or 2 in each pod. Flowers in May, fruits in June. Entomophilous. Zoochore. 2n=16.


General distribution: West and East Mediterranean, Asia Minor, Iran. Former USSR: European part - Crimea; Caucasus - East and South Transcaucasia.


Mountain slopes, among shrubberies, at roadsides.

Use and economic value.

Wild relative of cultivated melilot species. Forage.


Fedorov AA., Tzvelev NN., ed. 1987. Flora of the European part of the USSR. V.6. Leningrad: Nauka. P.179, 182. (In Russian).
Bobrov EG. 1945. Melilot - Melilotus Adans. In: Shishkin BK., ed. Flora URSS. V.11. P.188-189. (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 by I.G.Chukhina

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