Trifolium pratense L.
red clover
Fabaceae (Pea family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Bryan Kelly-McArthur     (Photo ID #76525)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Trifolium pratense
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Perennial or biennial herb from a taproot; stems several, ascending to erect, soft-hairy, 20-70 cm tall.
Alternate, palmately compound; leaflets 3 (rarely 4), lance-elliptic to egg-shaped, 2-6 cm long, obscurely toothed, often with a white, crescent-shaped spot towards the base, soft-hairy; stipules narrowly egg-shaped, 1-3 cm long, green-veined, narrowed to a bristle-tip.
Inflorescence a dense, globe-shaped, terminal head of 50 to 200, ascending to spreading, pea-like flowers, the heads 2.5-3.5 cm wide, more or less unstalked, lacking involucres; corollas pink-purple to deep red, 11-20 mm long; calyces 1/2-2/3 as long as the corollas, the tube narrowly bell-shaped, short-hairy on the outside and stiff-hairy in the throat, 10-veined, the teeth needle-like, bristly, the lower 3 about twice as long as the upper 2.
Pods, egg-shaped, about 2 mm long; seeds 2.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA


Ecological Framework for Trifolium pratense

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)
871 2 2016
Slope Gradient (%)
9 0 65

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

190 0 352
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 1 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

BG(6), BWBS(7), CDF(4), CWH(6), ESSF(3), ICH(30), IDF(68), MS(9), PP(5), SBPS(6), SBS(25)

Habitat and Range

Mesic to dry roadsides, fields, meadows and waste places in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; common in BC S of 55o N, rare northward; introduced from Eurasia.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Trifolium pratense var. frigidum auct. non Gaudin
Trifolium pratense var. sativum (Mill.) Schreb.