Tall Melilot

Melilotus altissimus

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  3. Tall Melilot


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.

How to identify

Like its cousin, Ribbed Melilot, Tall Melilot has small, pea-like, yellow flowers borne on tall spikes (unsurprisingly, White Melilot has white flowers). The two may be told apart by the looser flower spikes of Ribbed Melilot, and more golden flowers of Tall Melilot. But the main difference is that these flowers are followed by black, hairy seed pods in Tall Melilot, whereas the seed pods of Ribbed Melilot are olive-green and hairless.

Where to find it

Largely grows in central and southern England, scarce in Scotland.


When to find it

  • June
  • July
  • August

How can people help

Tall Melilot is an introduced species that has become widespread and naturalised in the UK without too much cause for concern. However, the effects of introduced species are not always as benign. The Wildlife Trusts work with researchers, scientists and other conservationists to monitor changes in our native wildlife to determine the effects of environmental change, such as the introduction of new species or climate change. You can help: volunteer for your local Trust and you'll be able to monitor populations and survey habitats, adding to a growing bank of data.

Species information

Common name
Tall Melilot
Latin name
Melilotus altissimus
Height: up to 1.5m
Conservation status
Introduced species.