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

28th Sept 2018, arable field, Gaw Hill, Ormskirk, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Often planted as a fodder to feed cattle or less often as a green manure to fix nitrogen in the soil and to later be ploughed into the soil.


28th Sept 2018, arable field, Gaw Hill, Ormskirk, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Intermixed amongst the Crimson Clover are also Reversed Clover (the pale pink clover with flatter heads), which your Author did not notice when he was taking the photos. and which is also often used as a green manure.


28th Sept 2018, arable field, Gaw Hill, Ormskirk, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
This is an extensive field, looking diagonal across its width. The leaves can be seen in triplets on the stem.


28th Sept 2018, arable field, Gaw Hill, Ormskirk, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
[It is probably that not all the leaves here are those of Crimson Clover; there are several other clovers and plants in this field].


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. Leaves a glaucous shade of bluish-green in sparse triplets up the stem


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. Leaves in triplets in 3 or four places which are widely separated up the stem.


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




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


28th Sept 2018, arable field, Gaw Hill, Ormskirk, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
These specimens at Gaw Hill are hairier than the others from West Sussex.


28th Sept 2018, arable field, Gaw Hill, Ormskirk, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Flower spike profile varies from pyramidal to a tapered tubular. Sepals and stems hairy.


28th Sept 2018, arable field, Gaw Hill, Ormskirk, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Sepal teeth seem longer on the Gaw Hill plants.


28th Sept 2018, arable field, Gaw Hill, Ormskirk, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Sepal teeth about 1.5x longer than the sepal cup.


28th Sept 2018, arable field, Gaw Hill, Ormskirk, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Petals withered, seed casings either now gone or never existed?


28th Sept 2018, arable field, Gaw Hill, Ormskirk, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Sepal teeth long and tapered to a long point, all equal length. Sepal cup has 10 paler-green long oval areas around it (best seen in central cup directed leftwards).


28th Sept 2018, arable field, Gaw Hill, Ormskirk, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Hairs white, long and appressed vertically on flowering stems.


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 depicted 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 and found in short grassland near the sea on the Lizard Peninsula and in Jersey.

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]