WHITE CLOVER

Dutch Clover

Kentish Clover

Trifolium repens

Pea Family [Fabaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept month8oct month8nov

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8white
 
inner
inner8red
 
morph
morph8zygo
 
petals
petalsZ5
 
type
typeZclustered
 
type
typeZglobed
 
stem
stem8round
 
stem
stem8ribbed
 
smell
smell8scented
scented
sex
sexZbisexual
 

27th June 2009, Blackleach Country Park, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Clover seems to prefer the upper drier part of a slight raise. It roots at the nodes which is why it is able to spread widely.


27th June 2009, Blackleach Country Park, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Leaving the lower parts to taller plants.


27th June 2009, Blackleach Country Park, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The flowers are a dull-white, sometimes pale pink (both types here). [The red centres are the toothed sepal cups - which can also be pale-green to white].


9th June 2009, Blackleach Country Park, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The leaves in triplets, small and broad-oval tapering to the centre with a slight nick (or not) at the apex.

When fresh the flowers smell scented. They have between 40 to 100 flowers in the inflorescence.



9th June 2009, Blackleach Country Park, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The leaflets (which vary from 10 to 25mm long) usually have a paler-green chevron pointing outwards (as on some specimens here) in the centre or, as here, a heart-shaped loop.

The edges of the leaflets either lack teeth or with teeth mainly towards the tips of the leaflets.

The veins are straight and parallel, usually meeting the edge of the leaflet at an angle. On fresh leaflets the veins are translucent.



WRONG
8th July 2009, Ainsdale Dunes, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The flower stalks (which are 15 to 20mm long) are long and are devoid of all leaves (the leaves are lower down beyond the flower stalk and on the main stems). This specimen is halfway in the process of turning to fruit: the flowers fold downwards when they are developing fruits.

The flowers are between 7 and 12mm long.

[Note - the flowers in this photo do indeed have banner petals which are rounded at the ends, but some in this specimen are folded down the centreline and hence appear to have pointed banner petals - your Author was just about to delete this photo but then he spotted the folds]

WRONG

9th June 2009, Blackleach Country Park, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The leaflet veins are sometimes red (the leaflet at top right has reddish teeth). (A young flower still developing top left). The flowers are between 7 and 12mm long.


unknown date, Bentham, Lancaster. Photo: © Mike Baldwin
The three flowerheads here are in 3 different stages of development. The calyxes are reddish here on all three.

The flower stalks (which are 15 to 20mm long) are long and are devoid of all leaves (the leaves are lower down beyond the flower stalk and on the main stems). This specimen is halfway in the process of turning to fruit: the flowers fold downwards when they are developing fruits. The flower stalks are ribbed (as in this specimen) or angled (as in the specimens below ).



unknown date, Birdlip, Gloucestershire. Photo: © Mike Baldwin
The calyx tubes are glabrous (without hairs), and greenish-white here with greener teeth - which on all(?) fabaceae plants have two teeth longer than the other three, and the central of those 3 is usually the shortest tooth.

The flowers usually have a long oval-shaped banner (the longest petal), two shorter ones (the wings) at the bottom splayed out to accommodate the smallest pair (the keel) usually closed - bottom centre of the flower). Each flower has 10 stamens, which are usually hidden.



unknown date, Birdlip, Gloucestershire.
Photo: © Mike Baldwin
The calyx tubes with their unequal teeth - here mostly greenish-white. The calyx teeth are triangular-lanceolate. The banner (aka standard) is rounded at the apex.


8th July 2009, grassy area, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD


8th July 2009, grassy area, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
All flowers now folded downwards and turning to fruit.


8th July 2009, grassy area, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The longest petal, the banner (aka standard), is now all brown (the other 4 petals of each flower are hidden behind the banner).

The seeds usually number 3 to 4 per flower.



8th July 2009, grassy area, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The trefoil leaves. This specimen with teeth and very pale chevrons near the centre. It is thought that about 1 in 10,000 specimens have 4 leaflets. Rarer still are ones with up to 18 leaflets.


Lookee-Likees : Alsike Clover (Trifoilium hybridum) but this has taller stems, up to 40cm (occasionally up to 70cm) high and with the flowers themselves usually a bright pink. Unlike White Clover Alsike Clover does not take root at the nodes.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Features : see text

It is very common on lawns. It grows following hikers tracks and is one of the two most common clovers (Red Clover is the other common clover).


  Trifolium repens  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Fabaceae  

Distribution
 family8Pea family8Fabaceae
 BSBI maps
genus8Trifolium
Trifolium
(Clovers)

WHITE CLOVER

Dutch Clover

Kentish Clover

Trifolium repens

Pea Family [Fabaceae]