Trifolium repens

White Clover

Botanical description: Trifolium repens is a short, mat-forming perennial that originated in Europe and has become one of the most widely distributed legumes in the world. Clover is found in a variety site conditions - along roadways, vacant lots, urban meadows and even on stone walls. It often remains green during a drought when surrounding plants go dormant - a testament to its tenacity. It spreads rapidly along the ground by its creeping stems and infiltrates even the purest of lawns, tolerating regular moving. Its prostrate habit makes it effective as a roadside collector of stormwater runoff. The dark green leaves are smooth with a long, lightly haired stems and three rounded leaflets that typically droop at night. Every once in a while, plants will sport four-leaflets, considered good luck to whomever finds them. Terminal clusters of small white flowers form small spheres that appear in early spring and offer an important nectar source for pollinating insects. A sweet herb tea can be made from its dried flowers and it has been used as a medicine for fevers and coughs by Native Americans. Clover is often planted for its ability to enrich the soil with nitrogen, which it does through a symbiotic relationship with bacterium in root nodules.