Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) 

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) is a member of the Pea Family (Fabaceae) and order Fabales. The genus name is from the Latin for "three leaves." The species name is from the Latin for "meadow." The flowers are in rounded heads about one inch (2.5 centimeters) in diameter. Each flower is pea-like, magenta to red and about ½ inch (1.3 centimeters) long.  This plant flowers from May to September.

Red Clover Detail

The leaves consist of three ovate leaflets. Each leaflet is from ½ to 2 inches (1.27 to 5.08 centimeters) wide and has a light triangular pattern in the middle of the leaf. See the photograph above.

This plant can grow up to two feet (60 centimeters) high.

The fruit is a seed pod containing yellow to deep violet seeds about 0.05 inches (1 millimeter) long.

The root system is simple but is extensively branched.

This plant is noted for its nitrogen fixation, thereby enriching the soil. It is also useful for stabilizing soil. It is the most widely cultivated of the clovers because it is excellent food for cattle and enriches the pasture soil better than most other plants.

Red Clover can be confused with Crown Vetch (another member of the Pea Family) but these plants have distinctly different leaves.

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