red clover

(Trifolium pratense)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

red clover


NNA - Not applicable

SNA - Not applicable


not listed


Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FACU - Facultative upland

Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


Native to Northern Africa, Europe, and Western Asia. Introduced and naturalized. Invasive.


Common and widespread


Disturbed sites


May to September

Flower Color

Magenta to pink to nearly white, but never red


1 to 2½



This is a perennial forb that rises on multiple stems from a taproot with rhizomes.

The stems are light green, hairy, and branching. They can be nearly erect, ascending, or reclining on the ground with just the tip ascending.

The leaves are alternate and compound, divided into 3 leaflets. The lower leaves are on long, hairy leaf stalks. The upper leaves are on short stalks or on no stalks at all. The leaflets are lance-shaped or egg-shaped, hairless, to 1 long, and ¼ to wide. The margins are finely-toothed or untoothed. The upper leaf surface is silky-hairy and has a pale V-shaped marking.

The inflorescence is several dense, globular, head-like clusters at the end of the stems. The flower heads are ½ to 1 tall and about 1 across. Each head has up to 25 to 80 flowers. There are usually 1 to 3 stalkless leaflets immediately below the flower head.

The flowers are pea-like, with 5 petals organized into a banner, 2 wings, and a keel formed by two petals fused together at the tip. The banner is longer than the wings and the keel. The individual flowers are stalkless. The petals are magenta to pink to nearly white, but never red. They gradually turn darker pink to rose as they age.

The fruit is a seed pod containing 1 or 2 seeds.


Alsike clover (Trifolium hybridum) stems are hairless or nearly hairless. The leaflets have no markings on the upper surface and are not indented or pointed at the tip. The petals are pale pink to pinkish-white.

Crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum) stems are more hairy. The leaflets have no markings on the upper surface. The petals are crimson red.

White clover (Trifolium repens) is a much smaller plant, 4 to 10 tall. The stems are creeping and they root at the nodes. Flowers and leaves are borne on separate stalks. The leaflets have have a pale, crescent-shaped, not V-shaped, marking on the upper surface. The petals are white or white tinted with pink.

Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 22, 28.


This is the state flower of Vermont.



Fabaceae (pea)



Faboideae (=Papilionoideae)














Trifolium pratense var. frigidum

Trifolium pratense var. sativum


peavine clover

purple clover

red clover













A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.


Visitor Photos

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  red clover    


  red clover   red clover


  red clover   red clover
  red clover    


  red clover    


  red clover   red clover





  Trifolium pratense
Susanne Wiik
  Trifolium pratense  

Rødkløver, red clover

  Red Clover
Wez Smith
  Red Clover  

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense).

  Trifolium pratense
Matt Lavin
  Trifolium pratense  

Introduced short-lived perennial, stems ascending to erect, less than 70 cm tall, leaflets serrate at least distally, the terminal leaflet is sessile (like the lateral leaflets, which is true of all Trifolium species), flowering head enveloped by stipules of subtending leaves, pod 1-few-seeded, inconspicuous and concealed by the calyx, fruiting head retains the faded dry petals (which is true of all Trifolium species), common in lawns, fields, pastures, introduced as a forage crop.

  Red Clover
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Red Clover  

Trifolium pratense

The State Flower of Vermont

  Trifolium pratense RED CLOVER
Frank Mayfield
  Trifolium pratense RED CLOVER  
  Trifolium pratense (with translation text)

Uploaded on May 16, 2011

More information? Review:
Plants of future (,
GRIN - Taxonomic information (





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Other Videos

  Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) ~ Introduced Species
Wandering Sole TV

Published on Jun 23, 2013

I was quite surprised when I learned that red clover is an introduced species in North America. It is native to Europe, western Asia and northwest Africa. Red clover is commonly found growing in disturbed soils and this is often where it was deliberately seeded in order to help with erosion control or to enhance the soil fertility of an area (through nitrogen fixation).

  Red Clover (Trifolium Pratense) - 2012-05-05

Published on May 7, 2012

Trifolium pratense (red clover) is a species of clover, native to Europe, Western Asia and northwest Africa.

De rode klaver (Trifolium pratense) is een overblijvende plant uit de vlinderbloemenfamilie (Leguminosae ofwel Fabaceae).





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Afton State Park

Antelope Valley SNA

Avon Hills Forest SNA
North Unit

Badoura Jack Pine Woodland SNA

Baker Park Reserve

Banning State Park

Blackhoof River WMA

Blanket Flower Prairie SNA

Blue Mounds State Park

Boot Lake SNA

Brownsville Bluff SNA

Butterwort Cliffs SNA

Camden State Park

Cannon River Wilderness Area

Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center

Carver Park Reserve

Cedar Mountain SNA

Cedar Rock SNA

Charles A. Lindbergh State Park

Chimney Rock SNA

Chippewa Prairie

Cleary Lake Regional Park

Compass Prairie SNA

Cottonwood River Prairie SNA

Crosby Farm Regional Park

Crow-Hassan Park Reserve

Crystal Spring SNA

Des Moines River SNA

Dodge Nature Center

Elm Creek Park Reserve

Falls Creek SNA

Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park

Fort Ridgely State Park

Franconia Bluffs SNA

French Regional Park

Frontenac State Park

Glacial Lakes State Park

Glendalough State Park

Glynn Prairie SNA

Gneiss Outcrops SNA

Great River Bluffs State Park

Greenleaf Lake SRA

Greenwater Lake SNA

Grey Cloud Dunes SNA

Gustafson’s Camp SNA

Hastings Sand Coulee SNA

Hastings SNA

Hayes Lake State Park

Hemlock Ravine SNA

Hole-in-the-Mountain Prairie

Holthe Prairie SNA

Hyland Lake Park Reserve

Hythecker Prairie SNA

Iron Horse Prairie SNA

Iron Springs Bog SNA

Itasca State Park

Itasca Wilderness Sanctuary SNA

Jay Cooke State Park

Joseph A. Tauer Prairie SNA

Kasota Prairie

Kasota Prairie SNA

Kilen Woods State Park

La Salle Lake SNA

Lake Bemidji State Park

Lake Carlos State Park

Lake Elmo Park Reserve

Lake Maria State Park

Lake Rebecca Park Reserve

Langhei Prairie SNA

Lawrence Creek SNA

Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Leif Mountain

Lester Lake SNA

Lost Valley Prairie SNA

Lutsen SNA

Maplewood State Park

Mary Schmidt Crawford Woods SNA

McCarthy Beach State Park

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Mille Lacs Moraine SNA

Mille Lacs WMA

Minneopa State Park

Minnesota Valley NWR
Louisville Swamp Unit
Rapids Lake Unit
Wilkie Unit

Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area
Lawrence Unit

Mississippi River County Park

Monson Lake State Park

Moose Lake State Park

Mound Prairie SNA

Mound Spring Prairie SNA
North Unit

Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve

Myhr Creek Ridge SNA

Myre-Big Island State Park

Nelson Wildlife Sanctuary

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Ney Nature Center

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR
Touch the Sky Prairie Unit

Ordway Prairie

Oronoco Prairie SNA

Osmundson Prairie SNA

Oxbow Park & Zollman Zoo

Partch Woods SNA

Pembina Trail Preserve SNA
Crookston Prairie Unit

Pin Oak Prairie SNA

Pine Bend Bluffs SNA

Potato Lake SNA

Prairie Coteau SNA

Racine Prairie SNA

Red Rock Prairie

Rice Lake State Park

Ripley Esker SNA

River Terrace Prairie SNA

River Warren Outcrops SNA

Robert Ney Memorial Park Reserve

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Roscoe Prairie SNA

Rushford Sand Barrens SNA

St. Croix Savanna SNA

St. Croix State Park

Savage Fen SNA

Savanna Portage State Park

Scenic State Park

Schaefer Prairie

Schoolcraft State Park

Sedan Brook Prairie SNA

Seminary Fen SNA

Seven Sisters Prairie

Shooting Star Prairie SNA

Sibley State Park

Split Rock Creek State Park

Spring Beauty Northern Hardwoods SNA

Spring Creek Prairie SNA

Spring Lake Park Reserve

Staffanson Prairie

Stanley Eddy Memorial Park Reserve

Strandness Prairie

Sunfish Lake Park

Swedes Forest SNA

Thorson Prairie WMA

Townsend Woods SNA

Twin Lakes SNA

Twin Valley Prairie Addition

Two Rivers Aspen Prairie Parkland SNA

Tympanuchus Prairie

Uncas Dunes SNA

Upper Sioux Agency State Park

Valley View Park, Oak Park Heights

Verlyn Marth Memorial Prairie SNA

Wahpeton Prairie WMA

Whitetail Woods Regional Park

Whitewater State Park

Wild Indigo Prairie SNA

Wild River State Park

William O’Brien State Park

Wolsfeld Woods SNA

Wood-Rill SNA

Woodland Trails Park

Zimmerman Prairie

Zumbro Falls Woods SNA




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