Melilotus polonicus (L.) Pall. - Polish melilot, Caspian melilot.

Taxonomic position.

Family Fabaceae Lindl., genus Melilotus Mill.

Main synonyms:

M. rariflorus Ledeb., M. caspicus Grun.

Morphology and biology.

Biennial plant. Stems firm, straight, yellowish, spreadingly branched, 40-70 cm tall, weakly leafed, covered with short hairs in the upper part of plant. Stipules subulate, entire, 6-8 mm long. Leaflets obovate, upper ones acuminate, almost prickly. Leaflets of upper leaves indistinctly dentate or entire at margins, thick, coriaceous, with prominent veins beneath, pubescent with adpressed hairs. Inflorescence a loose raceme about 5 cm long, elongating in fruit. Pedicels filiform, horizontally deflected, 4-5 mm long. Flowers 6 mm long, light yellow. Calyx 3 mm long, pubescent. Calyx teeth acuminate. Standard, wings and keel of the same length. Ovary glabrous, with two ovaries. Pods pendant, large, 7-8 mm long and 3 mm wide, oblong-rhomboid, yellowish or pale brown. Pod valves wrinkled. Seeds smooth, about 3 mm long, yellow-brown, 1, rarely 2 in a pod. Flowers in July, fruits in August. Entomophilous. Zoochore. 2n=16.


General distribution: Iran (Caspian coast). Former USSR: European part - Lower Volga; Caucasus - East Transcaucasia, Daghestan; Central Asia - Kara-Kum and Aral-Caspian regions.


On sands of Caspian Lowland, sea beach sands, weed along roads.

Use and economic value.

Wild relative of cultivated melilot species. Forage.


Galushko AI. 1980. Flora of the North Caucasus: Handbook. V.2. P.130-131. (In Russian).
Fedorov AA., Tzvelev NN., ed. 1987. Flora of the European part of the USSR. V.6. Leningrad: Nauka. P.181. (In Russian).
Shishkin BK., ed. 1945. Flora URSS. V.11. P.183-184. (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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