One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A fragrant herbaceous plant of the pea family, which is native to Eurasia and north Africa and is sometimes grown as forage or green manure.
- ‘There are 25 species of clovers and trefoils (Trifolium spp.), eight species of medic and alfalfa (Medicago spp.), and three species of melilots.’
- ‘The Chinese use yellow melilot medicinally, use it in cosmetics, and burn it as an incense.’
- ‘Other fodder plants introduced from Europe include the yellow or white melilots,, which may be seen in mid to late summer on the Sawston by-pass, and a larger form of Bird's foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus ssp.var. sativa) which often grows nearly a metre high on the South Down.’
Middle English: from Old French, via Latin from Greek melilōtos ‘honey lotus’.
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