White Clover (Trifolium repens)


Trifolium repens

Ordinary white clover may be our most common lawn weed, beating even dandelions. It is an inoffensive weed, however, and it has its advantages. It is easy to mow; it has a pleasant sweet scent on a hot summer day; and bees love it. Up close, we can see that each tiny flower has all the parts of a sweet-pea flower, though on a much smaller scale. The leaflets often have a pale crescent marked near the base, and of course an occasional leaf grows with four leaflets.

White Clover

Gray describes the genus and the species:

TRIFÒLIUM [Tourn.] L. CLOVER. TREFOIL. Calyx persistent, 5-cleft, the teeth usually bristle-form. Corolla mostly withering or persistent; the claws of all the petals, or of all except the oblong or ovate standard, more or less united below with the stamen-tube; keel short and obtuse. Tenth stamen more or less separate. Pods small and membranous, often included in the calyx, 1–6-seeded, indehiscent, or opening by one of the sutures. Tufted or diffuse herbs. Leaves mostly palmately (sometimes pinnately) 3-foliolate; leaflets usually toothed. Stipules united with the petiole. Flowers in heads or spikes. (Name from tres, three, and folium, a leaf.)

T rèpens L. (WHITE C.) Smooth perennial; the slender stems spreading and creeping; leaflets inversely heart-shaped or merely notched, obscurely toothed; stipules scale-like, narrow; petioles and especially the peduncles very long; heads small and loose; calyx much shorter than the white corolla; pods about 4-seeded.—Fields and copses, everywhere; indigenous only in the northern part of our range.

Trifolium repens

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