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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Genus: Melilotus (melilots)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid I > Fabales > Fabaceae > Subfamily: Papilionoideae

About 20 species, native to Europe, Asia and North Africa. There are three naturalised species in southern Africa, and an additional four species that are cultivated in the region.

Species naturalised in southern Africa

List from Plants of southern Africa - an online checklist (SANBI), Flora of Zimbabwe and Flora of Mozambique.

Melilotus albus (White melilot)

Native to Eurasia.

Melilotus indicus (Small melilot)

Native from the Canary Islands to India.


Melilotus officinalis (Yellow melilot, Ribbed melilot)

Native to Eurasia.


Other species, cultivated in southern Africa

List from Glen (2002).

Melilotus altissima (Tall melilot)

Native to Europe.


Melilotus messanensis

Native from Portugal to Pakistan.


Melilotus neapolitana

Native from the Mediterranean to Caucasus.


Melilotus wolgica

Native from Russia to the Caspian Sea.



  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.