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Red clover
(Trifolium pratense)


Often included as the second legume in new pasture sowings, especially where summer drought occurs. Also used as a specialist seed or hay crop. Poor winter growth. Tap rooted and typically persists in pastures only about 5 years. Older cultivars contain oestrogenic compounds (e.g. formononetin).

Vegetative identification

  • Leaves are hairy, darker, and more oval than white clover, but with some variation in shape;

  • leaves usually a little larger than other clovers, usually but not always with paler "v" mark;

  • plant erect, sometimes approaching 1m in height.
  • Clusters of 15 - 30 reddish-purple flowers forming a spherical shaped head;

  • flower heads elevated on stems and slower maturing than white clover;

  • seeds larger than those of white clover (especially in tetraploid varieties), similar in shape, but darker in colour.

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Page last modified on 25 February 2003 and will expire on 1 January 2004