Tall melilot

Tall Melilot

┬ęPaul Lane

Tall melilot

Scientific name: Melilotus altissimus
Tall melilot was introduced into the UK as a fodder crop, but has now become naturalised. It displays golden, pea-like flowers on tall spikes, which are followed by black, hairy seed pods.

Species information


Height: up to 1.5m

Conservation status

Introduced, but naturalised species.

When to see

June to August


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

Tall melilot has small, pea-like, yellow flowers borne on tall spikes (unsurprisingly, White melilot has white flowers). Ribbed melilot also has yellow flowers, but has looser flower spikes. In Tall melilot, the flowers are followed by black, hairy seed pods, whereas the seed pods of Ribbed melilot are olive-green and hairless.


Mainly found in Central and Southern England; scarce in Scotland.

Did you know?

Tall melilot is also known as Golden melilot due to the colour of its flowers.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts record and monitor our local wildlife to understand the effects of various factors on their populations, such as the introduction of new species. You can help with this vital monitoring work by becoming a volunteer - you'll not only help local wildlife but learn new skills and make new friends along the way.