Saturday, April 10, 2010

"Sweet-Clover (Melilotus Officinalis)" - Photo of the Day - April 10th, 2010

Sweet-Clover (Melilotus Officinalis) - Photo of the Day - April 10th, 2010
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"Sweet-Clover (Melilotus Officinalis)"

A patch of yellow sweet clover flowers growing beside a path in the shadow of the High Level Bridge in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

The High Level Bridge crossing the Oldman river in Lethbridge, Alberta is Canada’s longest rail structure. This year marks it’s 100th anniversary.

Yellow Sweet Clover (Melilotus officinalis), also known as Yellow Melilot or Common Melilot is a perennial or biennial species of legume of in the family Fabaceae, native to Eurasia and introduced in North America, Africa and Australia.
The flowers of the yellow sweet clover grow on long narrow racemes, stem-like structures which arise from the leaf axils, or the connection where the leaves and stem join. The finely toothed pinnate leaflets grow alternately in threes along the stem. Each flower is about 1/3” long and has a tendency to droop downward from the raceme, although curving upward toward its tip.

This plant is often underseeded with wheat or oats and ends up getting cut for feed. It is considered a toxic plant because when cut for feed, molding usually occurs because of the succulent stems. The molds can metabolize coumarin which is hydrolyzed from a plant glycoside. Dicoumarol is produced, which is toxic to animals.

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