E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Trifolium microcephalum Pursh
small-headed clover (smallhead clover)
Fabaceae (Pea family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Rod Innes  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #9815)

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Distribution of Trifolium microcephalum
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Species Information

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Annual herb from fibrous roots; stems 1 to several, decumbent to erect, 10-70 cm long, long wavy-hairy.
Alternate, palmately compound; leaflets 3, wedge-egg-shaped, notched at the tip, 1-2.5 cm long; stipules egg-shaped, sometimes bristle-tipped, fine-toothed, green, 1/2 as long as the leaflets.
Inflorescence a dense, globe-shaped, long-stalked head, 5-10 mm wide, of 7 to 60 pea-like flowers, the heads set in long-hairy, cup-shaped, lobe-margined involucres, the lobes papery-edged and mostly not toothed but bristle-tipped; corollas pink to white, brown in age, 3-6 mm long; calyces hairy, 4-7 mm long, the awl-shaped teeth bristle-tipped, equalling or longer than the 10-veined tube and the lower teeth often surpassing the corolla.
Pods, egg-shaped to ellipsoid, 2-3 mm long, usually rupturing the calyces at maturity; seeds 1 or 2.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to dry, open meadows, clearings, streambanks and grassy slopes in the lowland and steppe zones; locally frequent in SW BC, infrequent in SC BC; S to MT, NV, AZ and MX.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Trifolium microcephalum

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 31 166 490
Slope Gradient (%) 7 45 210
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
23 180 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 1 3
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(13), IDF(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References