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Red Clover

Red Clover

Description and Adaptation of Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)


First cultivated in northern Europe.

Plant Characteristics:

Root system - Well developed tap root with many small roots contributes to drought tolerance and ease of inoculation.

Stems - Strong, upright woody stems, high in fiber. A better hay than grazing plant. Leaves - Palatable and nutritious.

Flower head - The pink to red flower head is made up of many (100 or more) small typical legume flowers.

Soil Adaptation

Will grow on wide variety of soil types, from sandy loams to silty clay loams of from moderate to high levels of fertility. Red clover is relatively easy to establish and will grow on soils too acid or too wet for alfalfa. It is a short-lived perennial which persists for only one and a half to three years. It is susceptible to disease.

Factsheets in this series were prepared by Stephen Herbert, Masoud Hashemi, Carrie Chickering-Sears, and Sarah Weis in collaboration with Ken Miller, Jacqui Carlevale, Katie Campbell-Nelson, and Zack Zenk.

This publication has been funded in part by Mass. Dept. of Agricultural Resources in a grant to the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation, Inc. and by Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection, s319 Program.