T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Trifolium repens (White clover)

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Genus: Trifolium
Species: T. repens
Binomial name: Trifolium repens
Common name: White clover

It is an 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. 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. The creeping stems set roots at whatever point they touch the ground. 
Clover is a member of the pea family, Fabaceae. This means clovers can fix nitrogen from the air and therefore they favour poorly fertilised lawns.
Though clovers are a nuisance in lawns it is an important plant in rural pastures.  It is also important for honey bees pollen collection. Clover honey is the most common honey type in New Zealand.

   



A white clover Infestation in a lawn