Lupinaster wormskioldii (Lehm.) C.Presl
Trifolium calocephalum Torr. & A.Gray
Trifolium fendleri Greene
Trifolium fimbriatum Lindl.
Trifolium heterodon Torr. & A.Gray
Trifolium involucratum fendleri (Greene) McDermott
Trifolium involucratum fimbriatum (Lindl.) McDermott
Trifolium involucratum kennedianum McDermott
Trifolium kennedianum (McDermott) A. Nelson & J.F. Macbr.
Trifolium spinulosum Hook.
Common Name: Springbank Clover
Trifolium wormskioldii is a robust, herbaceous perennial plant with a creeping rootstock and branched, erect to creeping stems up to 80cm long; the plant can grow 10 - 30cm tall[
The plant was a favourite traditional food for the native peoples, and is still often harvested for local use.
Eating this plant can cause bloat, especially if larger quantities are consumed[
Western N. America - British Colombia, south to California, northern Mexico and Texas.
From beaches to mountain meadows, growing in wet and periodically inundated places, such as high salt and brackish marshes, coastal dunes, wet meadows, and stream banks, generally in open, moist or marshy places; at elevations up to 3,200 metres[
|Cultivation Status||Semi-cultivated, Wild
Succeeds in a moist, well-drained circum-neutral soil in full sun[
]. Succeeds in poor soils.
Dividing the plant every 3 - 4 years maintains vigour and also promotes new growth of roots[
This species produces fresh, tender leaves later into the summer than other edible species of Trifolium in western N. America[
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[
Root - raw or cooked[
]. The long, fleshy, white rhizome was a very important food crop for several native North American tribes, who semi-cultivated the plant to ensure good yields every year[
]. The roots can be harvested at any time of the year and were normally dried before being cooked, though they were also occasionally eaten raw[
]. The dried root will store for a considerable period of time if it is kept in a cool place[
]. The native Americans considered the long horizontal rhizomes to be superior to the shorter taproots, and also considered that the best roots grew in soft sandy soils[
The rhizomes were commonly harvested and prepared together with the long, brown roots of Pacific silverweed (Potentilla anserinas ssp. pacifica). Both plants were usually dug in the autumn, after the leaves had started to die back for the winter. The rhizomes were pried out with long, pointed wooden digging sticks. They were cleaned and tied in fist-sized bundles using one of the rhizomes as a tie. Traditionally they were cooked in an underground pit[
Leaves and flowers - raw[
]. Usually eaten raw with salt[
]. Often eaten in quantity, especially since it produces tender leaves later than most other species in the genus[
The wilted dry leaves have been soaked and stirred in cold water to make a sour drink[
The stoloniferous growth form of this plant aids in substrate stabilization and erosion control[
]. Being tolerant of saline conditions, it can be used to restore salt marshes and wetlands[
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[
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.
Division is easy. Preferably carried out in spring, though careful division at other times of the year generally work[