Tall Melilot

┬ęPaul Lane

Tall melilot

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Scientific name: Melilotus altissimus
Tall melilot was introduced into the UK as a fodder crop, but has now become naturalised. It displays golden, pea-like flowers on tall spikes, which are followed by black, hairy seed pods.

Top facts


Height: up to 1.5m

Conservation status

Introduced, but naturalised species.

When to see

June to August


Tall melilot is an introduced species in the UK, originating from Europe and commonly used as a fodder crop alongside its relatives White melilot and Ribbed melilot. It has now naturalised and can be found along field edges and roadside verges, and on waste ground and disturbed soils. It is a straggling plant that flowers from June to August.

What to look for

Tall melilot has small, pea-like, yellow flowers borne on tall spikes (unsurprisingly, White melilot has white flowers). Ribbed melilot also has yellow flowers, but has looser flower spikes. In Tall melilot, the flowers are followed by black, hairy seed pods, whereas the seed pods of Ribbed melilot are olive-green and hairless.

Where to find

Mainly found in Central and Southern England; scarce in Scotland.

Did you know?

Tall melilot is also known as Golden melilot due to the colour of its flowers.