Information on Red Clover

Common Name: Red Clover
Scientific Name: Trifolium pratense
Irish Name: Seamair dhearg
Family Group: Fabaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Red Clover is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


Well-known on both waste and cultivated land, the Red Clover is a straggling, hairy plant which spreads throughout moist but well-drained soils.  Widely grown for fodder, its small, pinkish to reddish purple 12-15mm flowers are borne in large, ovoid, dense heads from May to October.  The trifoliate leaves have elliptical leaflets, each bearing a white crescent-shaped mark.  Like other peaflowers, Red Clover fixes nitrogen into the soil which other plants can then absorb.  This is a native plant and belongs to the family Fabaceae. 

I first identified this plant in 1977 in Dalkey, Co Dublin and photographed it in Wellingtonbridge, Co Wexford in 2006.  

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Clover, Red
Clover, Red

'An old remedy for summer fevers and indigestion in children was to stew sloe leaves with clover blossoms.  Strain the liquid and take it after meals and rub the stewed leaves on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.  If a white froth came on the mixture while it was stewing, it was a sign the cure would be effective.' * 

Another remedy: 'This boiled and the water is good for washing a sore. There is great healing power in it'.  ** 

* From the National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin. NFC 36:247. From Co Laois.
** From the National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin. NFC 782:350.  From Co Kerry.