Fig. 166.-Yellow Sweet-clover (Meli-lotus officinalis). X 1/3.
Time of bloom: March to December.
Seed-time: May until snow-covered.
Range: Throughout the world in all temperate regions.
Habitat: Fields, meadows, waste places.
Properly speaking, this plant cannot be called a weed, further than that it is much less valuable for hay and forage than its larger relatives. Also the hulled seeds, though a trifle smaller, bear a strong resemblance to those of its tall perennial sister, the Alfalfa (Medicago sativa, L.), and unscrupulous dealers use them to adulterate the expensive Alfalfa seed. Grazing animals eat the plant readily and it makes good pasture. (Fig. 167.)
Stems slender, softly hairy, one to two feet long, procumbent, branching at the base and spreading on all sides, with many shorter branches which are usually ascending. Leaves pinnately three-foliolate, also finely hairy, with rather long petioles, the leaflets obovate, rounded and slightly toothed at the tips, seldom more than a half-inch in length. Flowers only about one line long, bright yellow, in small, oblong, dense heads or spikes about a quarter-inch thick and usually about twice as long. Pods thin-skinned, kidney-shaped, net-veined and ridged, slightly twisted, containing one seed, black when ripe.
Cultivation of the land and reseeding heavily with larger and more valuable members of the Clover Family, which will crowd out any renewal of the Medick from dormant seed.