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  Red clover  

Department of Natural Resources

Illinois Exotic Species:
red clover Trifolium pratense


Red clover is a perennial herb with leaves arranged alternately along the stems. Each leaf is divided into three, oval, finely-toothed leaflets. The leaflets are hairy and often have a dark, central spot. They may also show light, white markings. The stems of this plant are spreading or erect, branched, hairy and up to two feet long. Rounded clusters of many, purple-red, tubelike flowers develop at the stem tip. Each five-petaled flower is about one-half inch long. The fruit is an oblong pod that opens by a lid. The pod contains many seeds. Red clover may attain a height of six to 16 inches tall. This plant may be found throughout Illinois growing in field edges, roadsides and cultivated fields. Flowers are produced from May through September. Red clover is a native of Europe that was transported to the United States with early settlers and has spread tremendously.

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