Herb: Tall Melilot

Latin name: Melilotus altissimus

Synonyms: Melilotus altissima, Melilotus macrorrhizus, Melilotus officinalis

Family: Leguminosae

Edible parts of Tall Melilot:

Leaves and seedpods - cooked as a "bean soup". Young shoots - cooked. Also used as a flavouring. Only eat the fresh plant, it becomes toxic if it is dried.

Description of the plant:


120 cm
(4 feet)

June to

Habitat of the herb:

Waste places and woods, avoiding acid soils.

Other uses of Tall Melilot:

The dried plant is used as a moth repellent.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow spring to mid-summer in situ. Pre-soaking the seed for 12 hours in warm water will speed up the germination process, particularly in dry weather. Germination will usually take place within 2 weeks.

Cultivation of Tall Melilot:

Waste places and woods, avoiding acid soils.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Melilotus altissimus:

Dried leaves can be toxic though the fresh leaves are quite safe. (This is possibly due to the presence of coumarin, the substance that gives some dried plants the smell of new mown hay. If taken internally it can prevent the blood from clotting.)

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.