www.zinnysworld.com          Copyright 2000-2017 by Thomas Zinneman.  All rights reserved.

White Sweet Clover         Melilotus alba

The range distribution maps for the White Sweet Clover are from the Plants Database of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The White Sweet Clover is native to Europe and Asia.  It was introduced into North America in the 17th century for cattle forage purposes.  It is now widespread through the United States and Canada and is considered an invasive plant.  Note: This species is very similar in appearance to the Yellow Sweet Clover (Melilotus officinalis), which has yellow flowers, and is considered by some authorities to be the same species.

This plant can grow to a height of 3-6 feet, branching occasionally and having a lanky appearance.  It has compound leaves with 3 narrow, lance shaped leaflets that are sparsely distributed along the stem.

The upper stems terminate in a long narrow spike cluster of small white flowers that tend to hang downward.  The clusters are usually 2-6 inches long.  Each tubular-shaped flower is about 1/3-inch long and has 5 white petals and a light green calyx with 5 teeth.  In Florida, they bloom year round.  The nectar in these flowers attracts bees, butterflies, and beetles.

The photos on this page were taken in the Babcock-Webb WMA in Charlotte County near the end of June, 2017.