Previous Fodder and Pasture Plants (1913) Next



Red Clover. Though it cannot reach the honey, it can reach the pollen, and when securing this for bee bread it comes in contact with the pistil and thus has an opportunity to assist fertilization.

The result of the fertilization of the flower is the development of a small, straight pod containing one seed. When fully ripe this is released by the falling off of the upper caplike part of the pod.

Red Clover and all other species of the genus Trifolium behave in a rather peculiar way after flowering. Their flowers do not fall off but remain withered on the head during the whole season, giving the ripened heads their characteristic brown appearance. This peculiarity makes it easy to distinguish the genus Trifolium from the genus Medicago, the flowers of the latter not being persistent. The pods of Alfalfa and other species of Medicago are exposed while ripening, whereas the pods of Red Clover and other species of Trifolium are not visible.


Geographical distribution: Red Clover is a native of Europe, southwestern Asia, parts of Siberia and northern Africa.


History: It was introduced into culture comparatively late. In Italy and Spain its cultivation was established during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It was introduced into Holland from Spain during the sixteenth century and from there it made its way to England during the first half of the seventeenth, the English name being derived from the Dutch "Klafver." It was introduced into North America during the last decennium of the eighteenth century.


Cultural conditions: Being a resident of the temperate zone, Red Clover succeeds best where the summers are not too hot nor the winters too severe. Although the roots go rather deep, the plant is injured by long and continuous drought. It needs sufficient rain during the growing period to enable it to flourish during the whole season. As Red Clover is rather cosmopolitan, a great number of varieties, adapted to different climates, have been developed. The suitability of a variety for a northern climate like that of Canada depends to a great extent upon its hardiness. Chilean Red Clover or other varieties originating in countries with a mild climate are invariably killed by the Canadian winter, except in the southern parts of the country. It is therefore important to secure seed of northern origin. If possible, Canadian grown seed should be obtained because as a rule homegrown seed gives the best results.

Previous Fodder and Pasture Plants (1913) Next