Melilotus

Melilotus, known as Melilot or Sweet Clover, is a genus in the family Fabaceae. Members are known as common grassland plants and as weeds of cultivated ground. Originally from Europe and Asia, it is now found worldwide.

Like the most fragrant of the plants called sweet grass, this clover is commonly named for its sweet smell, which in both plants is due to its high content of the perfume agent coumarin (which is bitter to the taste, and is probably produced by the plant to discourage ingestion by animals). Coumarin, in turn, is used by fungi to form a poisonous anticoagulant in moldly or spoiled sweet clover, called dicoumarol. This compound was the historical cause of so-called sweet clover disease, the analysis of which led eventually to the production of the warfarin family of anticoagulants.

Uses

Melilotus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including case-bearers of the genus Coleophora that including C. frischella and C. trifolii.

Melilotus is often used as a green manure and turned into the soil to increase its nitrogen and organic matter content. It is especially valuable in heavy soils because of its deep rooting. However, it may fail if the soil is too acid. It should be turned into the soil when 8 to 10 inches tall. Unscarified seed is best sown in spring when the ground is not too dry; scarified seed is better sown in late fall or even in the snow, so it will germinate before competing weeds the following spring.[2]

 

{Information courtesy Wikipedia}