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Trifolium repens

Phonetic Spelling
try-FOH-lee-um REE-penz
Description

Trifolium repens, or Clover, is a prostrate, mat-forming herbaceous perennial about four to six inches tall and spreading 12 inches or more by stems that root freely. Known for its 3-leaflet pattern and white flower heads, it is commonly considered a lawn weed. Native to Europe, the plant has naturalized to lawns and roadsides and fields throughout North America, and is frequently used as a cover crop due to its ability to fix nitrogen in the soil. It also provides good forage for livestock.

Easily grown from seed, Clover responds to mowing with aggressive growth and spreads aggressively by rooting at nodes forming mats up to 12 inches wide. It likes moist soil, sun to part shade. The white flowers protrude above the leaves and generally measure 4 to 6 inches tall. 

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

No serious diseases or insect problems. Clover is a host to 'clover rot' and should not be used too frequently as a cover crop.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Atropurpureum 'Dark Dancer'
Atropurpureum 'Dark Dancer'
Tags:
#bees#white flowers#weed#edible weed#wildlife plant#weedy#clover leaves#nitrogen fixation#herbaceous perennial#pollinator plant#edible garden#nectar plant summer#nectar plant spring#cover crop#perennial weed#groundcovers that can be mowed
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Atropurpureum 'Dark Dancer'
Atropurpureum 'Dark Dancer'
Tags:
#bees#white flowers#weed#edible weed#wildlife plant#weedy#clover leaves#nitrogen fixation#herbaceous perennial#pollinator plant#edible garden#nectar plant summer#nectar plant spring#cover crop#perennial weed#groundcovers that can be mowed
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Trifolium
    Species:
    repens
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    May be used as a cover crop to supply nitrogen and as erosion control in moist soils.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe
    Distribution:
    Throughout United States.
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Attractive to native and honey bees. Used as forage for livestock.
    Edibility:
    All parts are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. Dried flowers used in tea, young leaves used in salads. The young leaves can also be used as a vegetable, cooked like spinach. Flowers and seed pods are dried, ground into powder and used as a flour or sprinkled on cooked foods. The dried leaves impart a vanilla flavor to cakes.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 4 in. - 0 ft. 6 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Ground Cover
    Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Creeping
    Prostrate
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Legume
    Fruit Description:
    Four to six tiny seeds in a brown pod.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Long Bloom Season
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Globular, 1/2 inch white flowers with leaves on separate stems. The spherical to slightly egg-shaped flower heads consist of 40 to 100 florets.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Long-lasting
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Trifoliate (three-part), green leaves, sometimes with red or purplish tones or flecks of white, 1/4 inch to 3/4 inch long and half as wide. It has 3 leaflets joined in the center. Each leaflet is green with a white crescent in the center and a midrib crease. At the base of each petiole there are a pair of light green small lanceolate stipules.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    White
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    Yes
    Stem Cross Section:
    Square
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Branching square stems with a creeping habit grow 4" to 12" long. They root at the stem nodes. Flowers bloom on 2 inch to 12 inch stems.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Recreational Play Area
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Design Feature:
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Erosion
    Poor Soil
    Rabbits
    Squirrels
    Problems:
    Weedy