Red Clover

Trifolium pratense

Common Name: Red clover
Scientific Name: Trifolium pratense
Family: Leguminosae
Growth Form: Herb
Native Range: Europe
Alien Range: Most of North America
Introduction: Red clover was brought by European settlers for medicinal uses.
Description: ·Leaves: Alternate, compound.  Elliptical or egg shaped leaflets. 2-4 cm (1-2 in) long.  Widest at apex with indentation.  Usually 3 leaflets. Light green V-shaped watermark near base of leaflet. Entire margins.

·Stem: Runs along ground, branching, sparse hair.  Forms mats.  Can grow 30-45 cm (12-36 in.) high.

·Flowers: Pink, round heads composed of 20-40 individual flowers, each 8-10 mm (.5 in.) long.  Heads 1-3 cm (.5-1.25 in.) in diameter. 

·Fruit: Seed pod.  4-5 mm long with 3-6 seeds per pod.  Seeds have hard coating which enables long periods of dormancy in soil.
Threats: Red clover is a common weed.  It can tolerate close mowing, and spread up to 18 cm per year.  Its seeds are viable in soil for a long time.  At present, though disruptive, red clover is not invasive.
Fun Facts: Red clover is known for its ability to loosen phlegm and calm bronchial spasms.  In the past it has been used to treat Whooping Cough.  It is also currently being studied as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women.  Red clover is the official state flower of Vermont.