Melilotus officinalis (sweet melilot, bokhara, tree clover)

description: biennial

place of origin: Eurasia

urban habitat:
commonly found roadsides, vacant lots, rubble dumps, urban meadows, highway banks and medians, along railroad tracks; thrives in dry conditions in full sun.

ecological function:
disturbance-adapted colonizer of bare ground; has nitrogen fixing properties, taproot breaks up compacted soils.

history: Melilotus officinalis was intentionally introduced into North America for as food for livestock. The plant has powerful anti-coagulant properties, and is used in the blood-thinning drug Coumadin. Native American tribes used it medicinally to treat sunburn, insect repellent, colds, as well as for its fragrant flowers. Other uses of the plant include as treatment for insomnia, nervous tension, varicose veins, painful menstruation, and for intestinal disorders. Its flowers produce a delicious honey.

Urban Herbs: Yellow Sweet Clover