ZIG-ZAG CLOVER

Trifolium medium

Pea Family [Fabaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept month8oct month8nov

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8red
flower
flower8mauve
morph
morph8zygo
petals
petalsZ5
type
typeZclustered
stem
stem8round

3rd July 2015, gravel quarry, Moses Gate, Bolton, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Tall (up to 50cm), but not as tall as Red Clover can grow (60cm). The pale-green chevrons, so common on the upper surface of the leaves on both White Clover and Red Clover, are more often absent on Zig-zag Clover. Here there are some residual pale-green markings, but not in the shape of a chevron.


23rd July 2015, Birkdale Dunes, Hillside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are a differing shape (narrower/longer) than the broader leaves of Red Clover.


23rd July 2015, Birkdale Dunes, Hillside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Flowerheads are both flatter and broader on top than those of Red Clover (except when the go to fruit as six other flowers have done here when the fruits curl contortuously).


23rd July 2015, Birkdale Dunes, Hillside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Stalks in a sort of zig-zag, hence the name (although this is not a reliable characteristic), especially when, as here, a gale is blowing from the right!


23rd July 2015, Birkdale Dunes, Hillside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Flowers more usually on long petioles (stalks) than those of Red Clover


23rd July 2015, Birkdale Dunes, Hillside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Flowers usually flatter on top than those of Red Clover, and a darker shade of red too (probably as a result of some of that red dye infusing the older leaves).


23rd July 2015, Birkdale Dunes, Hillside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
On this specimen even the sepals and sepal teeth are red.


23rd July 2015, Birkdale Dunes, Hillside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD


23rd July 2015, Birkdale Dunes, Hillside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Flower turning to fruit.


23rd July 2015, Birkdale Dunes, Hillside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Because Zig-zag Clover has darker-red flowers, some of that redness leaks out onto the edges of the leaves colouring them a reddish-brown (the subtractive colour resulting from red mixing with chlorophyll green).


30th Aug 2014, National Wildflower Centre, Prescot, Liverpool. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are a darker shade of green than those of Red Clover - but there are also new leaves which are mid-green.


23rd July 2015, Birkdale Dunes, Hillside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Leaf underside


23rd July 2015, Birkdale Dunes, Hillside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The same leaves as above, upperside, by transmitted light to show the translucent veins.


30th Aug 2014, National Wildflower Centre, Prescot, Liverpool. Photo: © RWD


23rd July 2015, Birkdale Dunes, Hillside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The stipules are not bristle pointed (as they are on Red Clover) [follow the stem from 'Birkdale' up and take the right-hand branch and stop just beyond half-way up the photograph: there is a sheath around the bifurcation of stems. The two teeth (you can onlt see one here) of this sheath both taper to a point which is not tipped by bristles. There is another lower sheath if you took the left-hand branch with the two stipules uncharacteristically splayed out - but neither are tipped by bristles (as they would be on Red Clover)].


Easily mis-identified as : Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) - see captions for differences.

It is a perennial with rhizomatous roots growing up to 59 cm on grassland especially on clay soils, also hedgerows and the borders of woods.


  Trifolium medium  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Fabaceae  

Distribution
 family8Pea family8Fabaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Trifolium
Trifolium
(Clovers)

ZIG-ZAG CLOVER

Trifolium medium

Pea Family [Fabaceae]