Information on White Clover

Common Name: White Clover
Scientific Name: Trifolium repens
Irish Name: Seamair bhán
Family Group: Fabaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
White Clover could sometimes be confused with:

Clover, Alsike,

Not beloved by those trying to maintain a perfect lawn, the White Clover plant is an almost hairless plant which spreads by rooting at leaf junctions. Its creamy white flower heads, 8 – 13mm long, are carried in rounded heads 2cm across and are on flower from June to September.  These sweetly scented flowers become brown with age after they have given their nectar. The toothed leaves are trifoliate and the leaflets bear white V-shaped marks and translucent veins.   This is a native plant and belongs to the family Fabaceae.

I first identified this plant on the lawn of my parental home in Dundrum, Co Dublin in the 1950's and photographed it in Bishop's Quarter, Co Clare in 1998

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

Clover, White
Clover, White

Dissenting minister and Irish botanist, Caleb Threlkeld (1676-1728) laid the foundations for Irish botany in his Synopsis Stirpium Hibernicarum published in 1727 which he described as 'the first Essay of this kind in the Kingdom of Ireland'.  In this work, Threlkeld wrote of Trifolium repens as follows:

"This Plant is worn by the People in their Hats upon the Seventeenth day of March yearly (which is called St Patrick's Day), it being a current Tradition that by this Three leafed Grass he emblematically set forth to them the Mystery of the Holy Trinity.  However that be, when they wet their Seamar-oge, they often commit Excess in Liquor, which is not a right keeping of a Day to the Lord."

The occasional four-leafed clover is said to bring the finder luck.