1. Family: Fabaceae Lindl.
    1. Melilotus Mill.

      1. This genus is accepted, and its native range is Temp. Eurasia to Indo-China, Canary Islands to Egypt and S. Africa.

    [LOWO]

    Legumes of the World. Edited by G. Lewis, B. Schrire, B. MacKinder & M. Lock. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. (2005)

    Note

    Trifolieae forms a morphologically distinctive tribe, although the position of both Ononis and Parochetus has been questioned (see below). In total there are 6 genera and c. 485 species, of which more than half belong to Trifolium (Fig. 56). The distribution of the tribe is centred in the N temperate regions of the Old World, particularly in areas of winter rainfall. Trifolium itself has spread into the tropics on mountains, where there has been considerable diversification, particularly in Ethiopia. It is also the only genus of the tribe to occur naturally in the New World. Parochetus occurs only on palaeotropical mountains. The importance of some genera as fodder legumes, particularly Trifolium and Medicago, has led to their introduction to many parts of the world.

    Ononis was placed in a tribe of its own, Ononideae, by Hutchinson (1964) and this has been followed by some (e.g., Yakovlev et al., 1996). The distinctness of Parochetus (and of Ononis) was emphasised by Small & Jomphe (1989), and Chaudhary & Sanjappa (1998a) have placed Parochetus in its own subtribe Parochetinae.

    Within the core of Trifolieae, there are some problems in generic delimitation, particularly between Trigonella, Medicago and Melilotus, with some (e.g., Yakovlev et al., 1996) recognising the intermediate genus Melilotoides. Distinctive species here placed in Medicago have been variously segregated as Radiata (Pseudomelissitus), Rhodusia, Crimea, Kamiella and Factorovskya. This treatment follows Small (1987) and Small et al. (1987) in recognising an expanded Medicago including all those species with explosively tripping flowers. In Trifolium, on the other hand, the generic boundaries are reasonably clear, but the unit can be treated either as a large genus with several well-defined sections (the course followed here), or as the separate genera Amoria, Chrysaspis, Lupinaster and Trifolium sens. strict. (see below).

    Trifolieae forms part of the ‘temperate epulvinate series’ of Polhill (1981a). In the same volume Heyn (1981) was unable to suggest a clear relationship to any other tribe. The morphological cladistic analysis of the whole family by Chappill (1995) placed Trifolieae next to Cicer. Kupicha (1977) had earlier suggested that Cicer is closest to Trifolieae, with the adnation of the stipules to the petiole in Trifolieae being the only differential character; the tribes Cicereae and Trifolieae also share the characters of long-stalked glandular hairs and serrate leaflets with craspedodromous venation. Doyle (1995) placed Trifolieae, along with Carmichaelieae, Cicereae, Galegeae, Hedysareae, Fabeae and some Millettieae in a group characterised by the loss of the inverted repeat (IR) (Liston, 1995). Endo & Ohashi (1997) placed Trifolieae as sister to the Cicereae and Fabeae (as Vicieae) in a cladistic analysis based on a range of non-molecular characters. Wojciechowski et al. (2000) distinguish a Vicioid clade that includes Trifolieae, Cicereae and Fabeae (as Vicieae), as well as Galega. Within this clade, Parochetus is basally branching to the rest of the taxa, and Galega plus Cicereae form a sister group to a paraphyletic Trifolieae, with Fabeae emerging as sister to Trifolium. In a clade sister to Trifolium and Fabeae, Wojciechowski et al. (2000) and Steele & Wojciechowski (2003) place Ononis basally branching to the sister monophyletic clades Medicago, and Melilotus-Trigonella (Fig. 56). The latter three genera comprise tribe Trigonelleae of Schulz (1901).

    Given that molecular phylogenies do not support a monophyletic Trifolieae in its current form, further study may reinforce the pattern of relationships suggested so far by these analyses. A tribe Trigonelleae could be recognised including the genus Ononis, and tribe Trifolieae would then only include the genus Trifolium, sister to tribe Fabeae. The Trifolieae in its broader paraphyletic sense is maintained here pending further study. The ‘supertree’ of Wojciechowski et al. (2001) is not supportive of the segregate genera of Trifolium; more thorough sampling of Trifolium and other large genera is desirable before any final conclusions can be drawn.

    See under Trigonella for notes on generic delimitation
    Habit
    Herbs
    Ecology
    Mediterranean and warm temperate grassland and shrubland
    Distribution
    temperate Europe, Mediterranean and subtropical Asia and N Africa
    [FZ]

    Leguminosae, various authors. Flora Zambesiaca 3:7. 2003

    Habit
    Annual or biennial herbs.
    Leaves
    Leaves pinnately 3-foliolate; leaflets toothed, the nerves ending in teeth; stipules basally adnate to the petiole.
    Flowers
    Flowers small, yellow or white, in extended pedunculate axillary racemes, lacking an explosively tripping pollination mechanism; bracts minute or absent; bracteoles absent.
    Calyx
    Calyx lobes subequal, ± as long as the tube.
    Corolla
    Petals not adnate to the stamens, glabrous, deciduous; standard subsessile, with 3 major basal veins; wings extended at the upper proximal corner into a small auricle; keel and wings not or loosely interlocked by a wing spur in a keel pocket (both spur and pocket not or weakly developed).
    Anthers
    Anther sheath straight at the apex; free portions of filaments mostly thin; vexillary filament free; anthers uniform, versatile.
    Pistil
    Ovary sessile or stipitate, few-ovuled; style long, incurved above, glabrous; stigma minute, terminal, with short papillae on the apex.
    Fruits
    Pod small, subglobose or ovoid, falling off with the calyx and pedicel, indehiscent or tardily dehiscent, variously veined, mostly indehiscent.
    Seeds
    Seeds ovoid, smooth or tuberculate.
    [FTEA]

    Leguminosae, J. B. Gillett, R. M. Polhill & B. Verdcourt. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1971

    Habit
    Annual or biennial more or less fragrant herbs
    Leaves
    Leaves pinnately 3-foliolate; stipules adnate to the petiole; leaflets toothed
    Flowers
    Flowers small, yellow or white, in elongated spike-like axillary racemes; pedicels short; bracts inconspicuous
    Calyx
    Calyx-lobes 5, subequal, ± as long as the tube
    Corolla
    Corolla glabrous, caducous, free from the stamens
    Stamens
    Filaments not dilated, the upper one free from the other 9; anthers uniform
    Fruits
    Pod small, 1–2 (–4)-seeded, usually pendulous, longer than the calyx, falling off with the calyx and pedicel.
    [LOWO]
    Use
    Used for forage, cover crops, green manure, medicine, human food, as a bee plant, hay and silage; widely introduced and often naturalised in waste places and along roadsides; the most widespread species are M. albus Medik. (white sweetclover) and M. officinalis (L.) Pallas (yellow sweetclover) ; improperly cured hay can lead to cattle poisoning

    Images

    Distribution

    Doubtfully present in:

    Cape Verde

    Native to:

    Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Altay, Amur, Assam, Austria, Baleares, Baltic States, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Buryatiya, Canary Is., Cape Provinces, Central European Rus, China North-Central, China South-Central, China Southeast, Chita, Corse, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Djibouti, East Aegean Is., East European Russia, East Himalaya, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, Free State, Germany, Greece, Gulf States, Hainan, Hungary, India, Inner Mongolia, Iran, Iraq, Irkutsk, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Khabarovsk, Kirgizstan, Korea, Krasnoyarsk, Kriti, Krym, Kuwait, KwaZulu-Natal, Laos, Lebanon-Syria, Lesotho, Libya, Madeira, Manchuria, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, North Caucasus, Northern Provinces, Northwest European R, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Primorye, Romania, Sakhalin, Sardegna, Saudi Arabia, Sicilia, Sinai, South European Russi, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tadzhikistan, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Transcaucasus, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkey-in-Europe, Turkmenistan, Tuva, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, West Himalaya, West Siberia, Western Sahara, Xinjiang, Yakutskiya, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zimbabwe

    Introduced into:

    Alabama, Angola, Argentina Northeast, Argentina Northwest, Argentina South, Arizona, Azores, Bahamas, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil South, Brazil Southeast, California, Chad, Chatham Is., Chile Central, Chile North, Chile South, Colombia, Colorado, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Easter Is., Ecuador, Finland, Florida, Georgia, Great Britain, Honduras, Illinois, Ireland, Jamaica, Jawa, Kamchatka, Kentucky, Kerguelen, Louisiana, Magadan, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexican Pacific Is., Mexico Northwest, Mexico Southwest, New Caledonia, New Mexico, New South Wales, New York, New Zealand North, New Zealand South, Niger, Norfolk Is., North Carolina, North European Russi, Northern Territory, Ogasawara-shoto, Oregon, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Queensland, Réunion, Socotra, Somalia, South Australia, South Carolina, Sri Lanka, St.Helena, Sudan, Tasmania, Tennessee, Texas, Uganda, Uruguay, Vermont, Victoria, Western Australia

    Melilotus Mill. appears in other Kew resources:

    First published in Gard. Dict. Abr. ed. 4: s.p. (1754)

    Accepted by

    • Tutin, T.G. & al. (eds.) (1968). Flora Europaea 2: 1-469. Cambridge University Press.

    Literature

    Flora Zambesiaca
    • O.E. Schulz in Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 29: 682–735 (1901).
    • Gard. Dict. abr. ed. 4 (1754).
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    • O.E. Schulz in E.J. 29: 682–735 (1901)
    • Gard. Diet., Abr. ed. 4 (1754)

    Sources

    Flora Zambesiaca
    Flora Zambesiaca
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Legumes of the World Online
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0