The seed can be sprouted and used in salads. A crisp texture and more robust flavour than alfalfa (Medicago sativa). The seeds are reported as containing trypsin inhibitors. These can interfere with certain enzymes that help in the digestion of proteins, but are normally destroyed if the seed is sprouted first. Flowers and seed pods - dried, ground into a powder and used as a flour. The young flowers can also be eaten raw in salads. Root - cooked. A delicate sweet herb tea is made from the fresh or dried flowers.The dried leaves impart a vanilla flavour to cakes etc.
The flowering heads are alterative, antiscrofulous, antispasmodic, aperient, detergent, diuretic, expectorant, sedative and tonic. It has also shown anticancer activity, poultices of the herb have been used as local applications to cancerous growths. Internally, the plant is used in the treatment of skin complaints (especially eczema and psoriasis), cancers of the breast, ovaries and lymphatic system, chronic degenerative diseases, gout, whooping cough and dry coughs. The plant is normally harvested for use as it comes into flower and some reports say that only the flowers are used.The toxic indolizidine alkaloid 'slaframine' is often found in diseased clover (even if the clover shows no external symptoms of disease). This alkaloid is being studied for its antidiabetic and anti-AIDS activity.
If the seed is in short supply it might be better to sow it in pots in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in late spring.Division in spring.
Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Trifolium pratense. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.
A short-lived perennial. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to at least -23°c. A very important food plant for the caterpillars of many butterfly and moth species. It is also a good bee plant, but not so valuable as the white clover, T. repens. It grows well in an apple orchard, the trees will produce tastier fruit that stores better. It should not be grown with camellias or gooseberries because it harbours a mite that can cause fruit drop in the gooseberries and premature budding in the camellias. Very polymorphic, there are many subspecies and varieties.This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. Buttercups growing nearby depress the growth of the nitrogen bacteria by means of a root exudate.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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Polycultures & Guilds
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This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
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