It is not always the largest, brightest colored and showiest flowers that are the most beautiful; the present species has a graceful, charming, silky beauty that places it far in advance of many of its brighter colored companions in the field. Yet, how often are its fuzzy heads passed by as weeds unworthy of notice. It is because of this silky, fuzziness that it receives its name of Rabbit-foot, and from the fact that it often grows in stony or rocky fields that it has been given its second name.
The stalk of this species is soft, silky and from 4 to 10 inches high. The light green leaves have three leaflets with blunt tips. The flower heads are composed of numerous florets; it is the long, pink, feathery tips of the five-parted calyx that gives the blossom its silky fuzziness; it is quite fragrant and is visited by the smallest butterflies. You may find this species everywhere within our range.
Red Clover (Trifolium Pratense) is the most common and the most valuable species of clover. One would hardly believe, knowing how abundant it is in all parts of our range, that this clover could have been introduced and have become so widely distributed, yet such is the case. One reason that it does so well in this country is that we have a very large number of bumblebees, and it has been found that clover is so dependent upon these insects for fertilization, that, without them, it will soon die out.
The little florets, composing the globular flower-head, are bright crimson-pink; they abound in nectar and are sweet-scented. The three leaflets that make up each leaf, have whitish-green triangles in the middle. The plant stems are hairy and from 8 to 24 inches high.
A. Alsike Clover. Trifolium hybridum.
B. White Clover. Trifolium repens.
Alsike Or Alsatian Clover (Trifolium Hy-Bridum) (European) is quite similar to our native white Clover, but the stem is stout, branching and juicy. The trifoliate leaves of this species are unmarked and have a simple, rounded end, not notched, but the edge of the leaf is very finely toothed; they have long slender stems, with stipules where they join the stalk. The florets composing the round flower-heads are cream-colored, tinged with pink; they are very fragrant and laden with nectar. The lower florets on the head bloom first; after they have been fertilized, they turn brown, and are reflexed, so that towards the end of the flowering season, the flowers have a very disheveled appearance, the lower part being dead and drooping, while the upper is fresh, pink and erect.
This species is now common throughout our range, flowering from May to October in meadows, waste places or along roadsides.