IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This introduced perennial plant is ½–2' tall, branching occasionally. The stems are round and hairless, or nearly so. Alternate compound leaves occur along these stems. They are trifoliate, and have long petioles. Where the petiole joins the stem, there are a pair of membranous stipules that are broadly lanceolate. The individual leaflets are about ½" long, and either oblong or obovate in shape. They are neither sharply pointed nor indented at their tips, while their margins are finely serrate. Unlike some Trifolium spp., there are no chevrons (white markings) on the upper surface of these leaflets. The foliage is hairless.  From the stipules of the upper stems, there are flowering stalks that terminate in well-rounded flowerheads about ½–¾" across. Each flower is about ¼" long and very slender, consisting of a tubular corolla and 5 lobe-like petals. Like other pea-like flowers, there is a standard, two side petals, and a keel, but they are tubular and narrow. The calyx of each flower is white with long slender teeth that are green. It is much shorter than the corolla. The flowers are usually some shade of whitish pink. The blooming period occurs intermittently during the summer for 1-3 months. The root system consists of a taproot and secondary roots that form nodes with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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