STRAWBERRY CLOVER

Trifolium fragiferum

Pea Family [Fabaceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8bicolour
flower
flower8pink flower8lilac
inner
inner8white flower8pink
morph
morph8zygo
petals
petalsZ5
type
typeZglobed
stem
stem8round

21st Sept 2013, Marshside, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
A cluster of 'strawberry' seed heads, the most reliable way of identifying this clover. A sprawling perennial to 30cm spreading by rooting stems (of the clovers, only White Clover and Western Clover spread this way)


21st Sept 2013, Marshside, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
At this time of year very few still in flower were to be found. The flower heads at 10-22mm across are smaller than the fruiting heads. Individual flowers 5-7mm long. Identification from the flower alone is very hard. The sepal tubes with their long thread-like multitude of points are deep in the depths and green.


21st Sept 2013, Marshside, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The flowers wither into light-brown coloured strips, surrounded by the inflating sepal tubes which are now a purplish-pink colour. Stems slightly hairy, round, with tiny black specks.


21st Sept 2013, Marshside, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Sepal tubes 'inflate' more (but not pneumatically as they do on Bladder Senna pods). They are covered in white hairs.


21st Sept 2013, Marshside, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Until the fruiting head becomes spherical and looks like a dull pinkish strawberry.


21st Sept 2013, Marshside, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The fabric of the inflated sepal tubes thins revealing the skeletal network.


8th Sept 2013, Marshside, Sefton Coast, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
sepal tubes have long white hairs.


21st Sept 2013, Marshside, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Within are the darker seeds. Hairs still present, but not as noticeable. Brown fruits lurk within the mesh net.


8th Sept 2013, Marshside, Sefton Coast, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The fruits are green at first and more visible than when they later turn dark brown.


21st Sept 2013, Marshside, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Leaves in as usual in triplets (trefoil) and similar to those of White Clover but are smaller, thicker and have re-curved veins.


21st Sept 2013, Marshside, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The recurved veins of the leaves and their fine teeth, mostly absent from the ends but more apparent nearer the short stalks.


10th Sept 2011, Lady's Island Lake, Wexford, Eire Photo: © Paula O'Meara
The bracts at the junctions of branch stems.


Not to be semantically confused with : Garden Strawberry [a plant with similar name belonging to the Rose Family (Roseaceae)]

Easily mistaken (from the flower) for : White Clover (Trifolium repens) until the globular dull-pink coloured strawberry-like fruiting heads can be found.

Some similarities to : Reversed Clover (Trifolium resupinatum) but that has flowers that are upside-down (keel at top and banner/standard below) and the fruits, although globular, are slightly smaller and dull olive in colour.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics (if the strawberry-like fruiting heads are found)

Distinguishing Feature : The strawberry-like globular fruiting heads coloured a dull pink.

Grows on natural grassland especially on clays and near the sea, as does the rarer Sea Clover (Trifolium squamosum) [R] but that occurs only near the coasts of Southern England, not on the Sefton Coastline or anywhere north of about Lincoln. It is insensitive to soil lalinity and is often to be found just above the strandline.


  Trifolium fragiferum  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Fabaceae  

Distribution
 family8Pea family8Fabaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Trifolium
Trifolium
(Clovers)

STRAWBERRY CLOVER

Trifolium fragiferum

Pea Family [Fabaceae]