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
type
typeZclustered
stem
stem8round

22nd June 2016, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The early stages - in flower.


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.


22nd June 2016, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The flowers turning pinker.


30th June 2018, Red Rock, West Kirby, Wirral. Photo: © RWD
The flowers fully open displaying a pink banner 2 smaller white wings and a smaller white keel between those two. Although Strawberry Clover is in the same Vesicaria section of Trifolium as is Reversed Clover (Trifolium resupinatum) it does not have reversed or upside-down florets; all the banners are facing inwards towards the centre as per the norm for Clovers.


30th June 2018, Red Rock, West Kirby, Wirral. Photo: © RWD
All the sepal teeth are roughly the same length.


22nd June 2016, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Unlike Reversed Clover Strawberry Clover has a ring of broad tapering bracts beneath the inflorescence.


22nd June 2016, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The bracts beneath on a specimen starting to turn to fruit.


22nd June 2016, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
When starting to fruit it assumes a globed appearance. Here some flowers are turning to fruit - the calyx expands and the petals turn a golden brown.


30th June 2018, Red Rock, West Kirby, Wirral. Photo: © RWD
Only one flower left.


22nd June 2016, 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). The fruiting head becomes spherical and looks like a dull pinkish strawberry. They are covered in white hairs.


30th June 2018, Red Rock, West Kirby, Wirral. Photo: © RWD
Fully inflated calyxes. Within are the growing fruits.


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


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


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 July 2018, Green Beach, Aibsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Plan view near fruiting stage.


21st July 2018, Green Beach, Aibsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
There are a few of another clover in this photo (those like chandeliers viewed from the top - there's one extreme left 1/3rd way down) and several others scattered amongst the Strawberry Clovers.


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
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)]. Nor to be confused with Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo) a tree planted in gardens and parks which might, if the climate is warm enough, produce fruit which looks superficially somewhat similar to strawberries.

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 salinity and is often to be found just above the strandline.

Strawberry Clover is in the same sub-family of Trifolium as is Reversed Clover (Trifolium resupinatum) - that of Vesicaria but the flowers of Strawberry Clover are not reversed (upside-down) as are those of Reversed Clover. The two look totally different from each other except when both are in the fruiting stages where the fruits of both are bent over downwards, but those of Strawberry Clover are reddish brown whereas those of Reversed Clover a fawny brown.


  Trifolium fragiferum  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Fabaceae  

Distribution
 family8Pea family8Fabaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Trifolium
Trifolium
(Clovers)

STRAWBERRY CLOVER

Trifolium fragiferum

Pea Family [Fabaceae]