White Clover (Trifolium Repens) is the most common of the white clovers. It is supposed to be indigenous in the northern parts of our range. It is highly prized as forage for cattle and is often cultivated in fields for that purpose. It is also a favorite with keepers of bees, for it is very rich in nectar and they claim that it makes a better quality of honey than any other.
Its stems are smooth, reclining and 4 to 10 inches long; they creep by runners. The leaves are composed of three leaflets, heart-shaped or notched at the ends, and usually with a more or less distinct triangular mark in the middle. This is the species that furnishes the prized "4-leaved clovers" that children so dearly love to find, and that are supposed to signify "good luck". The flowers are creamy white, slightly pinkish and very fragrant.
A. Yellow Clover; Hop Clover.
B. Yellow Melilot; Sweet Clover.
This clover, that came to our shores, long ago, from across the water, is very common in the eastern half of the United States and southern Canada; we find it growing most abundantly along roadsides and in dry or sandy fields.
The stem is quite smooth, slender, erect and slightly branching and grows from 6 to 15 inches high. The leaves have very short stems, in fact they are practically seated on the stalk; the lower ones have large stipules at their bases; they are thin and soft and have fine, feather-veining on each of the three small leaflets making up the leaf.
The flowers grow singly, or in clusters of two or three, at the ends of the branches. The flower head is oblong, densely crowded with small, golden-yellow florets, having an alternate, scaly arrangement. They bloom from the bottom of the head, upwards and, as they mature, turn yellowish-brown and are reflexed, resembling dried hops. Several stalks may spring from a single root, so that the plant sometimes has quite a bushy appearance. Its flowering season is from June until September.
Low Hop Clover (Trifolium Procumbens) (European) is a very similar species with a low, spreading, branching stem and with the three leaflets, notched at the ends and the middle one with a short stem. It is a common species throughout our range.
Yellow Melilot; Yellow Sweet Clover (Melilotus Officinalis) (European) is a common, weed-like plant found everywhere in waste places. The stem is tall and branching, growing from 2 to 4 feet high. The leaves are trifoliate, each leaflet being finely toothed and the middle one having a short stem with a double bend. The yellow, clover-like florets are in long, loose racemes, terminating the branches; they have a sweet fragrance.
A. Alfalfa; Lucerne.
B. Cow Vetch.