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Forage Identification: Red clover

Department of Plant Sciences

Red clover (Trifolium pratense L.)

Short lived perennial. Adapted to a wide range of soils, it grows best on soils with fine to medium texture that are well drained. It tolerates low fertility and moderately acid soils but has low drought tolerance. It tolerates cold temperatures. Tolerates shade better than most legumes.

Red clover

Growth Habitat:
Upright growth habitat. Primary stem does not elongate, but it produces many axillary branches at lower nodes. Stems are hollow and hairy. Short taproot. 

Red clover flower

Plant Characteristics:
Leaves are palmately trifoliolate, with oblong to wedge-shaped leaflets that are usually variegated with a white "water-mark." Rose to magenta flowers.

Red clover

Seed Characteristics:
Pure yellow to purple. About the same size as the alfalfa seed.

Red clover seeds

Important Identifying Characteristics:
Water-mark on leaflets.

Primary Uses:
Pasture, hay, silage and grazing, and often is grown in mixtures with cool season grasses.

Red clover

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