Previous Fodder and Pasture Plants (1913) Next



however, in coming from the upper parts of the stems, generally close to the top of the branches. In colour the flowers are between those of Red Clover and White. It must not be concluded from this fact, however, that Alsike is a hybrid, although its Latin name suggests the idea; the conclusion is entirely erroneous. The colour of the flowers varies from white to rose, usually in the same head, because they are white when young and gradually turn rose-coloured. In all clover species the development of the flowers begins at the base of the head. As Alsike flowers are rose-coloured when fully developed and white when young, it is easy to understand how a blossoming head is generally rose-coloured in its lower part and white toward the top.

Biology of flower: Like other clovers, Alsike is fertilized by insects. As the nectar is accessible to the ordinary honey bee, as well as to the bumble bee, the former is of more importance to Alsike than to Red Clover. When visited by a bee, the flower acts as does that of Red Clover. It will not produce seed if it has access only to its own pollen. Cross-fertilization between diferent plants must therefore take place.

After blossoming the persistent flowers turn brown and bend more or less downwards. The individual flowers easily fall off, especially when the heads are dry; in Red Clover the ripened flowers are more firmly attached to the heads. The pod of Alsike is longer than that of Red Clover. It protrudes a little above the top of the flower and conta;ns from two to four seeds.

Geographical distribution: It is indigenous to the Old World, occurring from northern Italy to northern Sweden and from central France to southern and central Russia. It is also found in south-western Asia and in some parts of northern Africa. It grows naturally along roads and streams, in moist meadows and on mountain sides.

History: Alsike Clover obtained its name from a small parish in central Sweden, called Alsike, where its cultivation began about a hundred years ago. It came into general use in Europe about the middle of the nineteenth century and is now commonly grown in practically all European countries except the most southern ones. In Canada it is cultivated to a noteworthy extent only in the eastern provinces. It frequently occurs, escaped from cultivation, in the Maritime Provinces, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia.

Previous Fodder and Pasture Plants (1913) Next