Trifolium repens L.
Plant height: 5-20 cm tall.
several, erect or creeping, branching from base,
rooting at nodes, hairless or very sparsely soft-hairy.
Leaves: alternate, with 3 leaflets which are obovate and
usually somewhat notched, 1-2 cm long, finely toothed. The
stalks from only slightly to many times longer than the
leaflets. Stipules 3-10 mm long, joined most of their length,
the free portion shortly pointed.
Flowers: white or cream to pinkish-tinged, 5-9 mm long,
drooping when older, on stalks 1-5 mm long, numerous on
heads from leaf axils. Heads round, 15-20 mm broad,
without involucres, long-stalked. Calyx hairless, about half
the length of the corolla, the teeth green, lance- to awl-
shaped, about equal to the tube.
Flowering time: May-October.
Fruits: small pods, 1 to 3-seeded.
Mosty on disturbed ground, or apparently native habitats
such as mountain meadows, in all parts of MT. Introduced
and established throughout w. N. America.
Edible and Medicinal plant: see below.
(click on image for full size)
(click on images for full size)
Leaves of white clover are edible, raw or cooked. The young leaves are best harvested before the plant
flowers, and can be used in salads, soups etc. They can be used as a vegetable, cooked like spinach. Flowers
and seed pods have been dried, ground into a powder and used as a flour or sprinkled on cooked foods such
as boiled rice. The young flowers can also be eaten raw in salads. The root can be eaten if cooked first.
A sweet herb tea is made from the fresh or dried flowers. It is considered delicate. The dried leaves
impart a vanilla flavor if mixed into cakes etc.
White Clover was used for medicinal purposes by the Cherokee, Iroquois, and Mohegan Indians among others.
The flowering heads have substances that counteract scrofula, tend to purify and cleanse the blood, cleanse
boils, sores, wounds, etc., heal disorders and diseases of the eye, and are tonic. A tea has been used
in the treatment of coughs, colds, fevers and leucorrhea. A tincture of the leaves can be applied as an
ointment to gout. A tea of the flowers has been used as an eyewash. The Cherokee used a tea of white clover
for fevers and "Bright's disease". The Delaware and Algonkian Indians used a tea infusion of
dried leaves taken for coughs and colds.
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