White Flowered Forbs

White Flowered Forbs
African rue
Broadleaved pepperweed
Field bindweed
Hary whitetop
Horehound
Lens-podded hoarycress
Onionweed
Oxeye daisy
Poison hemlock
White clover
White sweetclover
Whitetop

 

White Sweetclover
Trifolium repens L. (Pea family, Fabaceae)
 

Description

Taprooted, erect, branched, annual, biennial, or short-lived perennial forb, 2 to 7 feet tall; larger plants branch frequently and are somewhat bushy in appearance, while shorter plants are less branched and rather lanky; stems are glabrous, furrowed, and angular; sometimes the lower stems are ribbed light red.

Leaves: The alternate compound leaves are trifoliate (cloverlike) and hairless; each leaflet is about 3/4 inch long, and 1/4 inch wide, oblong, oblanceolate, or obovate in shape, and dentate along the middle or upper margin; terminal leaflet has a short stalk at its base, while the lateral leaflets are nearly sessile; petiole of each compound leaf is about 1/2 inch long; there are a pair of small linear stipules at its base.

Flowers: Flowers April to September; spikelike racemes of white flowers are abundantly produced; each raceme is up to 6 inches long and has dozens of yellow to cream-colored flowers; flowers about 5/16 inch long; when fully open, it has a pealike floral structure with an upper standard and lower keel.

Fruit: Fruit is a small seedpod, less than 3/16 inch long, conspicuously cross-ribbed and contains 1 to 2 seeds; seeds are tannish-yellow and somewhat flattened and kidney shaped.

Habitat

Cultivated and disturbed or degraded sites in meadows, grassland, woodland, and forest communities, and roadsides within elevations that generally range from 5,000 to 10,500 feet.

Propagation/Phenology

Reproduces by seed; well-developed plants may produce more than 1,000 seeds.

Comments

Native to Eurasia; white sweetclover is very similar to M. officinal (yellow sweetclover), which is another weedy species native to Eurasia; yellow sweetclover stems are glabrous, furrowed, and angular; sometimes the lower stems are ribbed light red, and its slightly reticulated seedpods lack conspicuous cross ribs; otherwise, these two species are nearly identical; USDA Plants Database considers them synonymous. White sweetclover generally occurs as a weed in wildland areas of the Southwestern Region rather than as an invasive plant.

Collage of images of White sweetclover

 
Forest Service Shield
Invasive plants and weeds of the national forests and grasslands in the southwestern region
White sweetclover trifoliate leaf White sweetclover flowers White sweetclover plants White sweetclover flower inflorescences