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White clover
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Genus: Trifolium
Species: T. repens
Binomial name
Trifolium repens
L.

White clover (Trifolium repens) is a species of clover native to Europe, North Africa, and West Asia. It has been widely introduced worldwide as a pasture crop, and is now also common in most grassy areas of North America and New Zealand.

Contents

Growth

It is a herbaceous perennial plant. It is low growing, with heads of whitish flowers, often with a tinge of pink or cream that may come on with the aging of the plant. The heads are generally 1.5-2 cm wide, and are at the end of 7 cm peduncles or flower stalks [1]. The leaves, which by themselves form the symbol known as shamrock, are trifoliolate, smooth, elliptic to egg-shaped and long-petioled. The stems function as stolons, so white clover often forms mats with the stems creeping as much as 18 cm a year, and rooting at the nodes [1].

Cultivation and uses

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Companion planting

White clover grows among turfgrass, crops, and in a large number of other landscapes.[1] It is also found in a limited range of different field type environments. White clover can tolerate close mowing, and can grow on many different types and pHs of soil, but prefers clay.[1] It is considered to be a beneficial component of natural or organic lawn care due to its ability to fix nitrogen and out compete lawn weeds. Natural nitrogen fixing reduces leaching from the soil and can reduce the incidence of some lawn diseases that are enhanced by the availability of synthetic fertilizer. [2]

Culinary uses

Besides making an excellent forage crop for livestock, clovers are a valuable survival food: they are high in proteins, widespread, and abundant. The fresh plants have been used for centuries as additives to salads and other meals consisting of leafy vegetables.

They are not easy for humans to digest raw, however, but this is easily fixed by boiling the harvested plants for 5-10 minutes [3]. Dried flowerheads and seedpods can also be ground up into a nutritious flour and mixed with other foods, or can be steeped into a tisane. White clover flour is sometimes sprinkled onto cooked foods such as boiled rice.

When used in soups, the leaves are often harvested before the plant flowers. The roots are also edible, although they are most often cooked firsthand.

Medicinal uses

White clover has been used as minor folk medicine by the Cherokee, Iroquois, Mohegan and other Native American tribes for centuries.

The Cherokee, for instance, used an infusion of the plant to treat fevers as well as Bright's disease. The Delaware and Algonkian natives used the same infusion, but as a treatment for coughing and the common cold.[citation needed]

As an invasive weed

Before the introduction of broad-leaf herbicides, white clover was more often added to lawn seed mixes than it is today, as it is able to grow and provide green cover in poorer soils where turfgrasses do not perform well. Many people consider clover a weed when growing in lawns, in part because the flowers are attractive to bees and thus "create a danger for people with bare feet."[citation needed]

White clover is the only known plant on which the caterpillars of the Coleophoridae case-bearer moth Coleophora mayrella feed.[citation needed]

In Britain, it is also used as an indicator of non-species rich grassland, as it out-competes the more rare plants and grasses, especially in fertile soils. Agri-environment schemes such as the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, Environmentally Sensitive Areas Scheme, and Environmental Stewardship give funding to species rich grasslands that do not have an abundance of white clover.[citation needed]

References

  1. ^ a b c d Richard H. Uva, Joseph C. Neal and Joseph M. Ditomaso, Weeds of The Northeast, (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997), Pp. 236-237.
  2. ^ The Organic Lawn Care Manual, Tukey, Storey Publishing. p 183.
  3. ^ Lee Allen Peterson, Edible Wild Plants, (New York City: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977), P. 56.

Gallery

External links


Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Trifolium repens

Taxonavigation

Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordo: Fabales
Familia: Fabaceae
Subfamilia: Faboideae
Tribus: Trifolieae
Genus: Trifolium
Subgenus: T. subg. Trifolium
Sectio: T. sect.  Trifoliastrum
Species: Trifolium repens
Varieties: T. r. var. biasolettii - T. r. var. giganteum - T. r. var. latum - T. r. var. macrorrhizum - T. r. var. pallescens - T. r. var. repens

Name

Trifolium repens L.

References

  • Species Plantarum 2:767. 1753
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Data from 28-Oct-07]. 300625

Vernacular name

Български: Пълзяща детелина
Česky: Jetel plazivý
Dansk: Hvid-Kløver
Deutsch: Weißklee / Kriechender Klee
English: White clover
Español: Trébol blanco
Français: Trèfle blanc
Hornjoserbsce: Běły dźećel
Italiano: trifoglio bianco
Latina: Trifolium repens
Lietuvių: Baltasis dobilas
Magyar: Fehérhere
Nederlands: Witte klaver
日本語: シロツメクサ(白詰草), クローバー
‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Hvitkløver
Polski: Koniczyna biała
Suomi: Valkoapila
Svenska: Vitklöver
Türkçe: Ak üçgül
Українська: Конюшина повзуча
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Category:Trifolium repens on Wikimedia Commons.

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