Clover - Red

Scientific Name(s): Trifolium pratense
Abundance: uncommon
What: leaves, flowers
How: leaves raw or boiled; flowers tea or smoked
Where: sunny fields
When: spring, summer
Nutritional Value: protein, assorted medicinal compounds

Medicinal Summary:
Flowers - possible female hormone replacement; soothes hot flashes; adjusts menstrual irregularities (tisane)

Leaf Arrangement: Leaves have an alternate arrangement with leaves emerging individually at different points along the stem.

Leaf Shape: The compound leaves are trifoliate, meaning each leaf is composed of three leaflets. These leaflets are broadly ovate, meaning they are egg-shaped with the wider end at the base.

Venation: Red clover exhibits pinnate venation, where a central vein runs through each leaflet with smaller veins branching off to the sides.

Leaf Margin: The margins of the leaflets are slightly toothed or serrated, particularly towards the tip.

Leaf Color: The leaves are a rich green, often with a characteristic lighter or white V-shaped marking on each leaflet.

Flower Structure: The flowers are grouped in dense, round to oval flower heads. Each flower head consists of numerous small, tubular florets.

Flower Color: The flowers are typically a deep pink or purple, though they can occasionally be a lighter pink or even white at the top of the clusters.

Fruit: The fruit is a small pod, usually containing one or two seeds.

Seeds: Seeds are small, yellowish to dark brown, and kidney-shaped.

Stem: The stem of Trifolium pratense can be either erect or ascending.

Hairs: There are fine hairs present on the stems and leaves, giving them a slightly fuzzy texture.

Height: Red clover plants typically grow to a height of 12 to 20 inches.

Red clover (plus some white clover around the edges)

Clover - Red

Close-up of red clover flower. Note the white "V" chevrons on the leaves (somewhat hard to see in this picture).

Clover Red

Extreme close-up of Red Clover flower.
Clover - Red

Red clover leaf. Note the white "V" on each leaflet.
Clover Red

Red clover stems are hairy.
Clover Red

Texas distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture. The marked counties are guidelines only. Plants may appear in other counties, especially if used in landscaping.

North American distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Red clovers fill fields and country roadside ditches with bright splashes of color. They form thick colonies of plants, usually well under two feet tall. They are often planted on purpose along Texas roadside for their color and beauty.

Red clover leaves and flowers can be eaten raw but they are easier to digest if boiled for a bit. More often the flowers (fresh or dried) are made into beneficial tea. Seep/simmer (don't boil) the red clover leaves and flowers in water for about ten minutes to release its full flavor and helpful chemicals such as salicylic acid (aspirin), trypotphan (sleep inducer), genistan (anti-cancer agent), and estrogenic chemicals.

Red clover turns purple as it dries. If picked still red and allowed to dry it creates a delicious flavored smoke. However, don't bother trying to smoke flower heads which dried still on the plant, they aren't nearly as flavorful.

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