Red clover

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated April 2019.

Scientific name: Trifolium pratense L.

Common name(s): red clover, purple clover, wild clover, meadow trefoil

Link(s): USDA PLANTS Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)



-generally flowers June through September in ME

-high fruit and seed abundance

  • spreads by seeds

-alternate leaves with three leaflets


-well drained loam soil

-wet to dry meadows

-open forests


-browsed by many animals

-high protein content

-grows rapidly

-Nitrogen fixation

Natural History:

-Native to Europe




Heinrich, B. 1976. Flowering phenologies: Bog, woodland, and disturbed habitats. Ecology. 57(5):890-899.

United States Department of Agriculture (2020). Trifolium pratense L. red clover, consercation plant characterisitics.

United States Forest Service. Pink, Rose, Red, or Purple Flowered Forbes, Red Clover, Invasive plants and weeds of the national forests and grasslands in the southwestern region.