HARE'S-FOOT CLOVER

HARESFOOT TREFOIL

Trifolium arvense

Pea Family [Fabaceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8pink flower8lilac
inner
inner8white
morph
morph8zygo
petals
petalsZ5
type
typeZclustered
type
typeZspiked
stem
stem8round

27th July 2012, ex-works, Marshside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Spreads forming a soft-pile carpet on sandy or grassy places near the sea.


7th Aug 2007, Martin Mere, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Barely 20cm high, the flowers consist of fuzzy and feathery-hairy spikes of pink to lilac flower heads resembling a Hare's foot.


27th July 2007, formby, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The trefoil leaves are narrow and hardly toothed (lower right).


27th July 2007, formby, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The flower head spikes consist of a clustered bunch of very small white flowers hidden amidst a set of longer and feathery hairs which have a pinkish or light green hue.


27th July 2012, ex-works, Marshside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The stems are branched with a red bract and a trefoil leaf at each juncture. The flowerheads vary in length from about 25mm long and looking like a test-tube brush to a 1cm nearly spherical ball. The


27th July 2012, ex-works, Marshside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Leaf and stem hairs are appressed (flat on the surface).


7th Aug 2007, Martin Mere, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The individual flowers are small, white and shorter than the feathery hairs twixt the flowers (centre flowerhead at top). As it matures it elongates into a fruiting head.


27th July 2012, ex-works, Marshside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Five plus five hairy sepals in two rows below the flowerhead. The sepals have long extended wiry teeth coloured purple.


27th July 2012, ex-works, Marshside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The purple wiry sepal teeth have feathery hairs almost hiding the white flowers with very small openings. Only two tiny white flowers are visible amidst the mass of feathery hairs in this photograph.


7th Aug 2007, Martin Mere, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
After flowering, it goes to seed (the orange projections at the centre of the 5 feathery and wiry purple sepal teeth.


6th Sept 2015, dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The hairs on the 'threads'.


27th July 2012, ex-works, Marshside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Two trefoil leaves. There is a tiny point at the apex of each leaflet. Round stems with appressed white hairs.


Some similarities to : Sea Clover (Trifolia squamosum) which grows up to twice as high (40cm) has rounded flowerheads (like clover), has similar long narrow leaves and also grows near the sea (although only South of Birmingham).

Slight resemblance to :

  • Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria) which is also covered in a cottony white down between the much larger and yellow flowers which manage to poke out through the 'cotton wool'.
  • Long-headed Clover (trifolium incarnatum ssp. molinerii) which has long fruiting heads which look similar to Hare's-foot Clover, but sulfur-yellow flowers rather than white. It also has heart-shaped leaves rather than narrow leaves. This is quite rare.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : The furry hare's foot flower head.

No relation to : Hare's-foot Inkcap [a mushroom with similar name] nor to Sickle-leaved Hare's-ear (Bupleurum falcatum) or Small Hare's-ear (Bupleurum baldense), Hare's-foot Sedge (Carex lachenalii), Hare's-Tail CottonGrass (Eriophorum vaginatum) or Hare's-tail (Lagarus ovatus) [plants with similar names].

Grows near the sea amidst short turf or on old dunes. Usually avoids limy soils.


  Trifolium arvense  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Fabaceae  

Distribution
 family8Pea family8Fabaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Trifolium
Trifolium
(Clovers)

HARE'S-FOOT CLOVER

HARESFOOT TREFOIL

Trifolium arvense

Pea Family [Fabaceae]