Trifolium majus Greene
Trifolium roscidum Greene
Trifolium tridentatum obtusiflorum (Hook.f.) S.Watson
Common Name: Clammy Clover
Trifolium obtusiflorum is a stout, erect, annual plant growing 30 - 100cm tall[
The plant was a widely used traditional food for native N. Americans, and it is still commonly harvested as a wild food.
Eating this plant can cause bloat, especially if larger quantities are consumed[
South-western N. America - Oregon, California
Moist places; at elevations below 1,500 metres[
]. Well-drained soil, near stream banks in the open country[
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[
]. The plant produces a peculiar sticky exudation which covers the flower heads and growing stems like dew. This exudation has a strong acid taste and on this account the clover is variously known as "sour" or "salt" clover. Notwithstanding the sharp acid taste, this species is considered to be one of the very best clovers for green food. It is sometimes eaten just as it is, but the leaves are generally eaten only after the acid exudation has been washed away[
]. Dipping in salt water gives considerable relish to the plant[
The plant is generally eaten before it comes into flower. 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[
]. 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 in late spring.