Trifolium greenei House
Trifolium hallii Howell
Common Name: Piñole Clover
Trifolium bifidum is an annual plant with erect, very slender stems; it can grow 15 - 50cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Eating this plant can cause bloat, especially if larger quantities are consumed[
Western N. America - Washington, Oregon, California.
]. Grassy places, mixed evergreen forests and coastal prairies; at elevations up to 600 metres
Succeeds in a moist, well-drained circum-neutral soil in full sun[
]. Succeeds in poor soils.
It grows well in an apple orchard, the trees will produce tastier fruit that stores better[
]. It should not be grown with camellias or gooseberries because it harbours a mite that can cause fruit drop in the gooseberries and premature budding in the camellias[
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[
]. Buttercups growing nearby depress the growth of the nitrogen bacteria by means of a root exudate[
]. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.
Leaves - raw or cooked[
]. Eaten very sparingly, and only when young[
]. Eating larger quantities can cause bloat - traditionally, the leaves were eaten with other foods that aid in digestion and therefore prevent bloating[
Seed - raw or cooked[
]. It can be used as a piñole[
]. The seed can be sprouted and added to salads or it can be dried, ground into a powder and used as a thickener in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread etc.
Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow 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.