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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

Among the various Trifolium spp. (Clovers), Red Clover is fairly easy to identify because of its large pink flowerheads and the white chevrons on its leaflets. It is unusual among the clovers in having sessile leaflets at the base of the flowerheads. There is some variability in the hairiness of the foliage and the color of the flowers. The common name is somewhat misleading because the flowers are never a true red. On rare occasions, a compound leaf will produce 4 or more leaflets.
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Description

This perennial plant is ½–2' tall, branching occasionally. The hairy stems are sprawling or erect. The alternate compound leaves are trifoliate. The lower compound leaves have long hairy petioles, while the upper leaves have short petioles or they are sessile. The leaflets are up to 2" long and ¾" across. They are oval-ovate or slightly obovate; sometimes they are a little broader below the middle. Their margins are smooth and ciliate and their tips are blunt. Toward the middle of the upper surface of each leaflet, there is usually a chevron that is white or light green. The leaflets are sessile and lack petioles of their own. At the base of each compound leaf, there is a pair of ovate stipules up to ½" long. The upper stems terminate in flowerheads that are spheroid or ovoid. Usually there are 1-3 leaflets immediately beneath each flowerhead, as well as several green bracts with tips that abruptly taper to a slender tip. Each flowerhead is about 1" across and consists of numerous flowers. These flowers are sessile, tubular-shaped, and spread outward in different directions. Each flower has 5 narrow petals that are pink or purplish pink, becoming light pink or white toward the base of the flowerhead; a rare form of this species with white petals also exists. The upper petal is slightly longer than the lower petals. The light green calyx of each flower has 5 slender teeth and it is usually hairy.  The blooming period usually occurs from late spring to mid-summer and lasts about 1-2 months. However, a few plants may bloom later in the summer or fall. The flowers have a mild honey-like fragrance, while the foliage, when it exists in abundance, produces a distinctive clover-like aroma that is quite pleasant. Each flower is replaced by a small seedpod containing 1 or 2 heart-shaped seeds. The root system consists of a taproot and produces rhizomes. This plant can spread vegetatively or by reseeding itself.
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Miscellaneous Details

"Notes: Western Ghats, Naturalized, Native of Mediterranean Region"
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Description

Trifolium pratense L., red clover, is an introduced biennial or short-lived perennial that grows as one of two types: medium (double-cut) or mammoth (single-cut). Red clover plants grow from crowns. Plants have hollow, hairy stems and branches. Stem lengths of medium and mammoth types average 18 inches and 24 to 30 inches, respectively. Medium types have about 4 branches per stem; mammoth have 6. Each leaf consists of a slender stalk bearing 3 leaflets. The taproot of red clover is extensively branched. Flowers are borne in compact clusters or heads and are usually rose-pink in color. Seed pods are small, short, and contain kidney-shaped seeds that vary in color from yellow to deep violet. Mammoth red clover matures later than medium types; only one crop of mammoth red clover is harvested each season since recovery is slow.

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Distribution

Range Description

This species is distributed worldwide. It is native in Eurasia and northern Africa and widely naturalized in temperate regions. It has been introduced in experimental nurseries in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
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Range and Habitat in Illinois

The non-native Red Clover is a common plant that occurs in every county of Illinois (see Distribution Map). It was introduced from Eurasia as a fodder crop for farm animals and as a cover crop to improve agricultural soil. Habitats include fields, pastures, weedy meadows, vacant lots, grassy areas along roads, waste areas, and degraded prairie remnants. This plant occurs in native habitats occasionally, but it is only slightly to moderately aggressive. It is often found in grassy areas that are not subjected to regular mowing. Faunal Associations
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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"Tamil Nadu: Dindigul, Nilgiri"
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Distribution: Kashmir; Europe; Central and South Western Asia; Afghanistan; N.Africa, Canaries, introduced in N.America and other places.
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Nepal.
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Distribution and adaptation

Red clover grows best on well-drained loamy soils, but it will also grow on soil that is not as well-drained. Medium and fine textured soils are preferred by the plant over sandy or gravelly soils. It is best adapted to a pH of 6.0 or higher.

Red clover is distributed throughout the United States. For a current distribution map, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Website.

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Erect to decumbent perennial. Leaflets 1.5-3.0 cm long, obovate to broadly elliptic, obscurely dentate; stipules ovate-lanceolate, free portion abruptly mucronate. Inflorescence a head, 7-22 mm wide, globose to ovoid, sessile or rarely pedunculate, usually with an involucre of stipules or reduced bracts. Calyx pubescent, lowest tooth longer than others and the calyx cup. Corolla reddish-purple to pink, rarely whitish. Vexillum 13-18 mm long. Fruit 1-seeded, opening by a lid.
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Physical Description

Perennial, Herbs, Taproot present, Nodules present, Stems erect or ascending, Stems less than 1 m tall, Stems solid, Stems or young twigs sparsely to densely hairy, Stems hairs pilose or spreading, Leaves alternate, Leaves petiolate, Stipules conspicuous, Stipules green, triangulate to lanceolate or foliaceous, Stipules persistent, Stipules clasping stem at the base, Stipules adnate to petiole, Leaves compound, Leaves palmately 2-3 foliate, Leaf or leaflet margins entire, Leaflets dentate or denticulate, Leaflets 3, Leaves glabrous or nearly so, Inflorescences racemes, Inflorescences globose heads, capitate or subcapitate, Inflorescence sessile or subsessile, Inflorescence axillary, Inflorescence terminal, Bracts conspicuously present, Bracteoles present, Flowers sessile or nearly so, Flowers zygomorphic, Calyx 5-lobed, Calyx hairy, Petals separate, Corolla papilionaceous, Petals clawed, Petals white, Petals pinkish to rose, Petals blue, lavander to pu rple, or violet, Banner petal narrow or oblanceolate, Wing petals narrow, oblanceolate to oblong, Wing petals auriculate, Wing tips obtuse or rounded, Keel tips obtuse or rounded, not beaked, Stamens 9-10, Stamens diadelphous, 9 united, 1 free, Filaments glabrous, Style terete, Fruit a legume, Fruit unilocular, Fruit freely dehiscent, Fruit indehiscent, Fruit oblong or ellipsoidal, Fruit orbicular to subglobose, Fruit or valves persistent on stem, Fruit enclosed in calyx, Fruit glabrous or glabrate, Fruit 1-seeded, Seeds cordiform, mit-shaped, notched at one end, Seed surface smooth, Seeds olive, brown, or black.
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Dr. David Bogler

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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

Habit: Herb
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Trifolium patulum is a perennial herb which occurs in rocky woodland and scrub. It has been reported from very steep mountainsides and in association with Abies, Acer pseudoplatanus, Carpinus betulus, Coronilla, Corylus avellana, Cotinus cogygria, Fraxinus ornus and Juniperus oxycedrus.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Range and Habitat in Illinois

The non-native Red Clover is a common plant that occurs in every county of Illinois (see Distribution Map). It was introduced from Eurasia as a fodder crop for farm animals and as a cover crop to improve agricultural soil. Habitats include fields, pastures, weedy meadows, vacant lots, grassy areas along roads, waste areas, and degraded prairie remnants. This plant occurs in native habitats occasionally, but it is only slightly to moderately aggressive. It is often found in grassy areas that are not subjected to regular mowing. Faunal Associations
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Dispersal

Establishment

Red clover may be seeded in pure stands, but it is often mixed with grain or grass. Spring or late summer seedings are satisfactory. It may be overseeded in the spring on fall seeded grasses. Red clover seed should be inoculated. Phosphorus and potash are the fertilizer elements needed mostly by red clover. Apply as recommended by soil tests. Seeding may be done with a drill or broadcast. A firm, weed-free seedbed is essential. Plant seeds ¼ to ½ inch deep.

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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects and Birds of Red Clover in Illinois

Trifolium pratense (Red Clover) introduced
(Bees suck nectar or collect pollen, beetle activity is unspecified, while hummingbirds & other insects suck nectar; short-tongued bees, butterflies, skippers, & moths are non-pollinating according to Robertson; most observations are from Robertson, otherwise they are from Reed, Graenicher, Lewis, Macior, Fothergill & Vaughn, Swengel & Swengel, and Lisberg & Young as indicated below)

Birds
Trochilidae: Archilochus colubris (Rb, Gr)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Bombini): Bombus auricomus sn (Rb, Mc), Bombus bimaculatus sn (Rb, Re), Bombus fervida sn fq (Mc), Bombus fraternus sn, Bombus griseocallis sn cp fq (Rb, Mc), Bombus impatiens sn (Rb, Mc), Bombus pensylvanica sn cp fq (Rb, Mc), Bombus vagans sn cp (Rb, Mc), Psithyrus citrinus sn, Psithyrus variabilis sn fq; Anthophoridae (Anthophorini): Anthophora abrupta sn, Anthophora ursina sn cp, Anthophora walshii sn; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Melissodes bimaculata bimaculata sn, Synhalonia speciosa sn cp fq; Megachilidae (Anthidinini): Anthidium psoraleae sn cp fq; Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile brevis brevis sn cp; Megachilidae (Osmiini): Hoplitis pilosifrons sn, Osmia cordata sn cp

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Halictus rubicunda cp; Andrenidae (Panurginae): Calliopsis andreniformis cp

Flies
Bombyliidae: Exoprosopa fasciata

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Agraulis vanillae (FV), Danaus plexippus, Speyeria cybele, Vanessa atalanta, Vanessa cardui (Rb, Re), Vanessa virginiensis fq; Lycaenidae: Everes comyntas, Lycaeides melissa samuelis (Sw); Papilionidae: Battus philenor, Papilio cresphontes, Papilio marcellus, Papilio polyxenes asterias; Pieridae: Colias philodice (Rb, FV), Eureme nicippe, Phoebis sennae, Pieris rapae (Rb, Lw), Pontia protodice

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Epargyreus clarus fq, Polites peckius, Polites themistocles, Thorybes pylades

Moths
Sphingidae: Hemaris diffinis

Beetles
Mordellidae: Mordella marginata (LY)

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Foodplant / feeds on
larva of Apion apricans feeds on inflorescence of Trifolium pratense
Other: sole host/prey

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Apion assimile feeds within inflorescence of Trifolium pratense
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / feeds on
larva of Apion laevicolle feeds on Trifolium pratense
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Apion trifolii feeds within inflorescence of Trifolium pratense

Foodplant / feeds on
larva of Apion varipes feeds on flower? of Trifolium pratense

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Apion virens feeds within stem of Trifolium pratense
Remarks: Other: uncertain

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / spot causer
epiphyllous, few, immersed, brownish pycnidium of Ascochyta coelomycetous anamorph of Ascochyta trifolii causes spots on live leaf of Trifolium pratense
Remarks: season: 7

Foodplant / pathogen
Bean Yellow Mosaic virus infects and damages live Trifolium pratense

Foodplant / pathogen
conidiophore of Botrytis dematiaceous anamorph of Botrytis anthophila infects and damages greyed anther of Trifolium pratense

Plant / associate
adult of Bruchidius varius is associated with Trifolium pratense
Remarks: season: (late 7-early 10, late 4)5-6
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / sap sucker
Ceraleptus lividus sucks sap of Trifolium pratense

Foodplant / parasite
conidial anamorph of Erysiphe trifolii parasitises live Trifolium pratense

Foodplant / open feeder
larva of Hypera meles grazes on leaf of Trifolium pratense
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / open feeder
larva of Hypera nigrirostris grazes on leaf of Trifolium pratense
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / open feeder
larva of Hypera punctata grazes on leaf of Trifolium pratense
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / spot causer
erumpent Kabatiella coelomycetous anamorph of Kabatiella caulivora causes spots on live petiole of Trifolium pratense
Remarks: season: 4-7

Foodplant / spot causer
immersed pseudothecium of Leptosphaerulina trifolii causes spots on live leaf of Trifolium pratense

Foodplant / spot causer
amphigenous pseudothecium of Mycosphaerella carinthiaca causes spots on live leaf of Trifolium pratense
Remarks: season: 4-5

Foodplant / feeds on
adult of Orsodacne humeralis feeds on pollen? of Trifolium pratense
Remarks: season: 3-6

Foodplant / parasite
sporangium of Peronospora trifoliorum parasitises live Trifolium pratense
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
gregarious, sessile apothecium of Pseudombrophila ramosa is saprobic on dead, rotting stem of Trifolium pratense

Foodplant / parasite
erumpent apothecium of Pseudopeziza trifolii parasitises live leaf of Trifolium pratense
Remarks: season: 4-1

Foodplant / spot causer
mostly hypophyllous colony of Ramularia anamorph of Ramularia sphaeroidea causes spots on leaf of Trifolium pratense

Foodplant / saprobe
superficial colony of Sarcopodium dematiaceous anamorph of Sarcopodium circinatum is saprobic on dead stem of Trifolium pratense

Plant / resting place / among
apothecium of Sclerotinia trifoliorum may be found among Trifolium pratense
Remarks: season: 9-11

Foodplant / feeds on
larva of Sitona lepidus feeds on Trifolium pratense
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / feeds on
larva of Sitona puncticollis feeds on Trifolium pratense
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / feeds on
larva of Sitona sulcifrons feeds on Trifolium pratense
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / spot causer
conidiophore of Stemphylium dematiaceous anamorph of Stemphylium sarciniforme causes spots on live leaf of Trifolium pratense

Foodplant / parasite
hypophyllous telium of Uromyces fallens parasitises live leaf of Trifolium pratense
Other: major host/prey

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flower/Fruit

Fl.Per.: July-August.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Trifolium pratense

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Trifolium pratense

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 25
Specimens with Barcodes: 36
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
Lopez Poveda, L.

Reviewer/s
Hilton-Taylor, C.

Contributor/s

Justification
Trifolium pratense is listed as Least Concern. It is widespread and known to occur in protected areas and Botanical Gardens worldwide. It is appreciated as a cultivated plant, for food and medicinal uses.
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Status

Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status (e.g. threatened or endangered species, state noxious status, and wetland indicator values).

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Population

Population
The population size of the species is not known.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no known major threats to this species.
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Pests and potential problems

Anthracnose and powdery mildew may be problems in areas with high humidity and rainfall. Choose resistant cultivars to reduce the occurrence of these diseases.

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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It is known to occur in protected areas throughout its range. Seeds have been collected as part of the Millennium Seed Bank project and by the United States National Plant Germplasm System Collection. There are 45 collections in Botanical Gardens worldwide.
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Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)

Some of the major cultivars for the western US are ‘Pennscott’, ‘Chesapeake’, ‘Kenland’, ‘Cumberland’, ‘Dollard’, ‘Midland’ and ‘Lakeland’. ‘Altaswede’, ‘Norlac’, and ‘Craig’ are mammoth red clovers. In the eastern US, varieties selected should be resistant to anthracnose and powdery mildew. Some cultivars commercially available that are moderate to highly resistant to anthracnose are ‘Acclaim’, ‘Rally’, ‘Redland II’, and ‘Renegade’. Those moderate to highly resistant to powdery mildew are ‘Arlington’, ‘Rally’, ‘Rebel’, ‘Red Star’, and ‘Reddy’. Most cultivars and varieties adapted to your area can be found through local seed suppliers.

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Graze or cut for hay when the red clover is ¼ to ½ in bloom. A second cutting or successive grazings should occur when red clover is ¼ in bloom. Leave at least 2 inches of growth after each harvest. Care should be taken to eliminate or appreciably reduce bloating of livestock. Keep lime and fertilizers (phosphorus and potash) at the proper level. Control insects and diseases.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full sun, mesic conditions, and a loam or clay-loam soil. This plant adds nitrogen to the soil by forming root nodules that accommodate rhizobial bacteria. Partial sun is tolerated.
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Uses

Red clover is primarily used for hay, pasture, silage, and soil improvement. It is a quick growing crop, easily established, and produces high quality forage. Tolerance of shade allows red clover to be used effectively as a cover crop under silage corn.

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Wikipedia

Trifolium pratense

This article is about the plant. For other uses, see Red clover (disambiguation).

Trifolium pratense (red clover) is a species of clover, native to Europe, Western Asia and northwest Africa, but planted and naturalised in many other regions.

It is an herbaceous, short-lived perennial plant, variable in size, growing to 20–80 cm tall. The leaves are alternate, trifoliate (with three leaflets), each leaflet 15–30 mm long and 8–15 mm broad, green with a characteristic pale crescent in the outer half of the leaf; the petiole is 1–4 cm long, with two basal stipules. The flowers are dark pink with a paler base, 12–15 mm long, produced in a dense inflorescence.

Diseases[edit]

Red clover is subject to bacterial as well as fungal diseases. Other problems include parasitic nematodes (roundworms) and viruses.

Uses[edit]

Trifolium pratense, general aspect

It is widely grown as a fodder crop, valued for its nitrogen fixation, which increases soil fertility. For these reasons it is used as a green manure crop. Several cultivar groups have been selected for agricultural use, mostly derived from var. sativum. It has become naturalised in many temperate areas, including the Americas and Australasia as an escape from cultivation.

Red clover is commonly used to make a sweet-tasting herbal tea.[1] It is an ingredient in some recipes for essiac tea. Trifolium pratense is used in traditional medicine of India as deobstruent, antispasmodic, expectorant, sedative, anti-inflammatory, and antidermatosis agent.[2]

Warnings and contraindications[edit]

In alternative medicine, red clover is promoted as a treatment for a variety of human maladies, including coughs, disorders of the lymphatic system and a variety of cancers. However, according to the American Cancer Society, "available clinical evidence does not show that red clover is effective in treating or preventing cancer, menopausal symptoms, or any other medical conditions."[3]

Dietary amounts of red clover are safe, but medicinal quantities may cause rash-like reactions, muscle ache, headache, nausea, vaginal bleeding in women, and slow blood clotting.[4]

Due to its activity on estrogen receptors, red clover is contraindicated in people with a history of breast cancer, endometriosis, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, uterine fibroids, or other estrogen-sensitive conditions,[5] but others have suggested the high isoflavone content counteracts this, and even provides benefits in these conditions.[6]

Due to its coumarin derivatives, it should be used in caution in individuals with coagulation disorders or currently undergoing anticoagulation therapy.[7]

It is metabolized by CYP3A4 and therefore caution should be used when taking it with other drugs using this metabolic pathway.[8]

Symbolism[edit]

It is the national flower of Denmark[9] and the state flower of Vermont.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Red Clover Tea". SupplementSOS.com. Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  2. ^ Wang L, Waltenberger B, Pferschy-Wenzig EM, Blunder M, Liu X, Malainer C, Blazevic T, Schwaiger S, Rollinger JM, Heiss EH, Schuster D, Kopp B, Bauer R, Stuppner H, Dirsch VM, Atanasov AG. Natural product agonists of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ): a review. Biochem Pharmacol. 2014 Jul 29. pii: S0006-2952(14)00424-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2014.07.018. PubMed PMID: 25083916.
  3. ^ "Red Clover". American Cancer Society. November 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  4. ^ Red clover, WebMD.
  5. ^ USA (2012-05-24). "Influence of marketed herbal menopause pre... [Menopause. 2004 May-Jun] - PubMed - NCBI". Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 2012-08-05. 
  6. ^ Roberts DW et al. J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Oct:70(10);1003-5
  7. ^ USA (2012-05-24). "Herbal medication: potential for adverse i... [J Clin Pharm Ther. 2002] - PubMed - NCBI". Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 2012-08-05. 
  8. ^ "red clover (Trifolium pratense) Cautions - Epocrates Online". Online.epocrates.com. Retrieved 2012-08-05. 
  9. ^ Other National Symbols - Embassy of Denmark India
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Widely cultivated as a fodder crop; quite variable.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

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