Trifolium agrestinum Boreau
Trifolium arenivagum Boreau
Trifolium brachyodon (Celak.) A.Kern.
Trifolium brittingeri Opiz
Trifolium capitulatum Pau
Trifolium eriocephalum Ledeb.
Trifolium gracile Thuill.
Trifolium longisetum Boiss. & Balansa
Trifolium arvense is an erect to ascending, annual plant, usually with spreading branches; it can grow 5 - 30cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine.
Trifolium arvense is sometimes grown in pastures. It has escaped from cultivation in some areas, including Australia, where it is considered to be an invasive weed. It often grows in dense patches, thus crowding out native species; in addition it fixes atmospheric nitrogen, increasing natural fertility levels in the soil and potentially altering the species combination of native plants[
Eurasia - Norway to Portugal, east to western Siberia, central Asia, Iran, Turkey and the Levant; N. Africa - Morocco to Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia
Dry moorland meadows, plowfields, sandy loams and sands, often ruderal; in the mountains of the southern former USSR, ascending on gravelly slopes to elevations of 1,500 metres[
Trifolium arvesnse is a plant of the temperate zone, where it is found at elevations up to 500 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 9 - 16°c, but can tolerate 4 - 20°c[
]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -10°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at 0°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 700 - 900mm, but tolerates 520 - 1,200mm[
Requires a sunny position[
]. Grows best in lighter, well-drained soils, succeeding in soils of low fertility[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.2 - 6.8, tolerating 6 - 7[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria; these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
The flowers are used to treat a variety of conditions related to the digestive system, genitourinary system and the skin[
Seed - the seed of Trifolium species is often of two kinds - hard-coated and soft-coated. The soft-coated seeds can germinate immediately, whilst hard-coated seeds remain dormant until the seedcoat has broken down enough to permit the ingress of water. In order to speed up and improve germination rates, hard-coated seeds benefit from scarification before sowing. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing. The seed can usually be sown in spring in situ.
If the seed is in short supply, it might be better to sow it in pots in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frosts.