(Trifolium pratense) Red clover

I am sure most of you will remember seeing Red clover while you were growing up in a meadow or field or maybe even in your yard. I did, and I am reminded of the familiar smell of clover after a farmer’s field was cut. But, have you ever really looked at it closely? This simple, common plant user by farmers as fodder for their animals is another great example the “hidden” beauty right under our noses. Please enjoy it with me.

Photo by Stewart Nelson, 2017, some rights reserved. ©

I marvel at the delicate fine hairs on the leaves and stems that botanists would describe as pubescent opposed to glabrous or smooth. The flowers are as splendid as any rose or orchid. More obvious here are the signature whorled, 3 leaves in all types of clover. I am not sure of the reason for the V shaped “birthmark” on each leaf but most like some evolutionary adaptation to attract pollinators.

Photo by Stewart Nelson, 2017, some rights reserved. ©

Photo by Stewart Nelson, 2017, some rights reserved. ©

The herbal uses of Red clover flowers make numerous claims such as reducing menopause symptoms, relieving BPH known to all of older gentlemen as benign prostatic hyperplasia although WebMD states that there is insufficient evidence to document its effectiveness. The only thing certain is that it acts like estrogen when taken in medicinal doses and it is likely safe to use. As usual, be sure to consult your physician before using Red clover. (We all know what she is going to say!).

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