Trifolium pratense

(trii-fol' ee-um praa' tense)

Common name: Red Clover

Family: Fabaceae, Bean

Height x width: 6-24" x 18-24"

Growth rate: moderate

Foliage: 3 leaflets -2" long, blunt and oval, blotched with a white V pattern in the middle

Flowers: stalkless magenta or purple in dense rounded terminal heads, summer

Hardiness: zones 3-9

Soil: most

Light: sun

Pests and Problems: none serious

Landscape habit, uses: meadows, embankments, impoverished soils, bee and butterfly gardens, often found along roadsides

Other interest: native to Europe, it was introduced into the U.S. as a hay and pasture crop and has widely escaped and naturalized; it stores nitrogen in its root nodules so is used to improve soil fertility; state flower of Vermont; genus from the Latin tres meaning three and folius meaning leaf, refering to the three leaflets

Other culture: may be too aggressive for small areas

Propagation: seed, desirable types by division


medium, Zig Zag Clover--narrower leaflets, flowers on stalks, less seldom seen

hybridum, Alsike Clover--whitish pink flower heads, lacks the white leaf marking



Several ornamental cultivars exist in Europe. Some agronomic selections may be found in the U.S.


©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course, fall 1997.

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