[The Clovers of the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington]

White Clover, Dutch Clover

Trifolium repens

Synonym: Trifolium repens var. repens

Sideview of a flower of White Clover: Trifolium repens

The photo above shows a close-up of the flower of white clover as seen along road #23 at about 3800' at the Mt. Adams Viewpoint on the southwestern corner of Mt. Adams........October 14, 2005. Note the glabrous calyx. The similar alsike clover (Trifolium hybridum) has tiny hairs in the notch between calyx lobes.

Sideview of an inflorescence of White Clover: Trifolium repens The photo above shows a close-up side-view of the flower head of white clover.
Characteristics:

White clover is a nearly glabrous perennial weed with creeping to ascending stems from 10-60 cm long that root and the nodes. The stipules measure 3-10 mm long and aare fused for much of their length. The leaves alternate along the stem and are ternately compound. The petioles are about equal to many times longer than the leaflets. The leaflets measure 1-2 cm long and are obovate in shape with the tips usually blunt or notched. The margins are finely toothed.

The globose flower heads measure 1.5-2 cm wide and are axillary on long peduncles. The heads are not subtended by an involucre. The flowers are 5-9 mm long and typically white to cream or pink-tinged. They are at first spreading and ascending but soon become reflexed downward (See photo at right.). The banner is erect and much longer than the wings or keel. The pedicels are 1-5 mm long. The glabrous calyx is about half the length of the corolla while the calyx teeth are about equal in length to the calyx tube.


Similar Species:

Alsike Clover: Trifolium hybridum - The stipules are longer, the calyx often has tufts of hairs in the notch between the teeth, the flowers are a deeper pink color, and plants are less likely to creep.

White Clover: Trifolium repens - The stipules are shorter, the calyx is largely glabrous, lacking tufts of hairs in the notch between the calyx teeth, the flowers are whiter and plants are rhizomatous and more prone to creep.


Habitat:

A weedy species, white clover may be found in disturbed soils such as those along roads and trails, yards and gardens, gravel quarries, and waste areas or fallow fields.


Range:

Native to Europe, white clover is now established across much of North America.

In the Columbia River Gorge, it may be found between the elevations of 100'-2100' from the Sandy River eastward to near The Dalles, OR.


Upper view of an inflorescence of White Clover: Trifolium repens

The photo above shows an overhead view of the compact, ball-like inflorescence of white clover.

Trifoliate leaf of White Clover: Trifolium repens

The photo above shows the commonly seen "3-leaf clover" leaf reminiscent of this species. Note the white markings on each leaflet.

Paul Slichter