Red Clover

Red Clover













Red Clover

Red Clover

Interesting Information About Plant:  

     The red clover is the state flower of Vermont and is widely abundant across the state. The dried flower heads may be mixed with other plants to make delicate teas. If you mixed 1 oz. Liquid extract from the flower with 1 pint of boiling water, the mixture could be used to treat bronchitis and whooping cough. Red clover has about two-thirds more digestible protein than alfalfa which is why it is widely used as a pasture and hay grass. Red clover grows best in full sun, which is why it is planted in large meadows and fields for hay and grazing. The plant is a perennial but only lives a short time (two to three years) because it easily succumbs to disease and harsh winters.

     Red clover is a good rotation crop, returning 120 pounds of useful nitrogen to the soil each year. The seed capsule is also good for reducing grass and broadleaf weed pressure that would normally try to take over the surrounding area. The leaflets have pale triangular markings across the middle of the plant that makes it easy to identify. While almost always the leaves have three leaflets on the petiole, it is considered good luck to find a cloverleaf with four leaflets.


Scientific Name:  Trifolium pratense

Family Name (Scientific and Common):  Fabaceae

Continent of Origin:  Europe

Plant Growth Habit:  Ground Cover

Height at Maturity: Less than 1 foot

Life Span: Perennial

Seasonal Habit:  Herbaceous That Stays Green Through Winter   

Growth Habitat:  Full Sun 

Manner of Culture: Weed

Thorns on Younger Stem: No

Cross Section of Younger Stem:  Roundish   

Stem (or Trunk) Diameter:  Less Than The Diameter of a Pencil  

Produces Brownish Bark:  No

Bark Peeling in Many Areas:  No

Characteristics of Mature (Brownish) Bark:  No Mature Bark (all green)

Type of Leaf: Flat, Thin Leaf  

Length of Leaf (or Leaflet): Less than Length of a Credit Card 

Leaf Complexity:  Palmately Compound

Edge of Leaf:  Smooth 

Leaf Arrangement:  Alternate

Leaf has Petiole: Yes 

Patterns of Main-Veins on Leaf (or Leaflet):  Pinnate 

Leaf Hairiness:  Somewhat Hairy   

Color of Foliage in Summer:  Green 

Change in Color of Foliage in October:  No Change   

Flowering Season:  Spring  / Summer / Autumn

Flowers: Tightly Clustered

Type of Flower:  Colorful Flower

Color of Flower: White / Pink / Purple 

Shape of Individual Flower:  Bilaterally Symmetrical     

Size of Individual Flower:  Smaller than a Quarter  

Sexuality:   Male and Female on Same Plant

Size of Fruit: Smaller than a Quarter

Fruit Fleshiness: Fleshy

Shape of Fruit: Long Pod

Color of Fruit at Maturity: Green

Fruit Desirable to Birds or Squirrels: No   

Common Name(s): Red Clover, Clover

Louisville Plants That Are Most Easily Confused With This One: Any other type of clover

Unique Morphological Features of Plant: Has a hard water permeable seed coat, slight hairiness on stem and underside of leaf, the first true leaf the plant grows is solitary, oval in shape, and squarely cut off at the base,

Poisonous: None of Plant

Pestiness (weedy, hard to control): Yes  


Page prepared by:       


Cynthia Toth                                    

November 2004


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© Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY 2002-2004