CRIMSON CLOVER

Trifolium incarnatum ssp. incarnatum

Pea Family [Fabaceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july

status
statusZneophyte
flower
flower8red
inner
inner8green
morph
morph8zygo
petals
petalsZ5
type
typeZclustered
type
typeZspiked
stem
stem8round

20th May 2012, former arable field, West Sussex Photo: © Sarah Lancaster
A medium-height plant grown both as a fodder crop and as a green manure in some arable fields.


24th May 2012, former arable field, West Sussex Photo: © Mandy Lenn
With long, up to 6cm, spikes in a striking crimson colour.


24th May 2012, former arable field, West Sussex Photo: © Mandy Lenn
The individual pea flowers bloom in sequence from bottom to top, leaving the blackish fruits behind at the bottom. Like all Clovers, the leaves are in trefoil formation.


24th May 2012, former arable field, West Sussex Photo: © Mandy Lenn
The crimson coloured flowers contrast strikingly against the grass in a meadow now sown as grass for cattle.


24th May 2012, former arable field, West Sussex Photo: © Mandy Lenn
Flowering in sequence from bottom to top. seeds at the bottom


24th May 2012, former arable field, West Sussex Photo: © Mandy Lenn
Typical pea-type flowers with banner, wings and keel, but quite small.


24th May 2012, former arable field, West Sussex Photo: © Mandy Lenn
Seeds in blackish casings.


20th May 2012, former arable field, West Sussex Photo: © Sarah Lancaster
Leaves in three's.


Not to be confused with: Crimson Flax (aka Scarlet Flax) (Linum grandiflorum) [an escaped garden plant belonging to a differing family]

There are two sub-species of Trifolium incarnatum:

  • Crimson Clover (Trifolium incarnatum ssp. incarnatum) which is the above.
  • Long-headed Clover (Trifolium incarnatum ssp. molinerii) which is very similar to Crimson Clover, but has a long yellowish white flowering spike of pea-like flowers.

Crimson Clover was once farmed on arable land as fodder food for cattle. Like all Clovers, it fixes its' own nitrogen, so requires no extra nitrogen fertiliser. It is now found occasionally on arable land, a dormant seed awoken, as on the above photographs here where the land is now used to grow grass for cattle to graze upon. It has such a long and striking flower-head that it is now much more likely to be grown in a garden for show.

Similar to: Common Red-hot Poker (Kniphofia uvaria), but that has stamens which hardly protrude from the flower and has leaves which have blunter tips.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :


  Trifolium incarnatum ssp. incarnatum  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Fabaceae  

Distribution
 family8Pea family8Fabaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Trifolium
Trifolium
(Clovers)

CRIMSON CLOVER

Trifolium incarnatum ssp. incarnatum

Pea Family [Fabaceae]