Scientific NameMelilotus alba
Other Common Names:
Synonyms (former Scientific Names):
Seedlings have oblong cotyledons, green underneath and whitish-green on the top. Plants can reach 8 ft tall. Stems are branched and roots penetrate deep in to the soil.
Leaves are compound with three club-shaped leaflets 1/2-1 in long. Leaf bases have small papery attachments.
Sweet scent, white pea like flowers and compound leaves with 3 leaflets. White sweet clover is toxic to livestock and seeds are a serious contaminant of cereal grains. This species is also an alternate host to several diseases i.e. beet curly top, aster yellows pea mosaic, pea mottle, bean yellow mosaic, and tobacco streak.
Flower Seed Head
Found in the leaf axils and on the ends of branches, flowers are white and fragrant. Flowers are arranged along a stem 2-6 in long with 40-80 flowers in each cluster. Flowers are much like those of cultivated peas.
Fruit are smooth pods black to dark gray in color containing one or two seeds. Seeds are 2.5 mm long and 1.5 mm wide, kidney-shaped, and yellow in color.
Found throughout the United States and Canada. White sweet clover is often found in waste areas and roadsides.
upright and nonwoody
Thorns or Spines
Approximate Flower Diameter
Dominant Flower Color
shorter than leaf
Stem Cross Section
round or oval