by Stephen Mifsud
   20 May 2024      ()
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Trifolium pratense   (Red Clover)

Trifolium pratense  (FABACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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General Information Species Images
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Detailed species profile
Fabaceae Index Plant Family Index
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Profile Date July-2007 (taxon update: July-2007)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Trifolium pratense - datasheet created on July-2007. Retrieved from on 20-May-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Trifolium pratenseL.
Published in Sp. Pl. : 768 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Lagopus pratensis (L.) Bernh.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Fabaceae Lindl. (=Leguminosae) (The Pea Family)
106 species from the Fabaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Red Clover, Peavine Clover, Cowgrass

Maltese name(s) :

Xnien ta' l-eghlieqi

Status for Malta :

Casual or accidental alien. Species that was introduced in Malta rather recently and normally it is short-lived or resticted to small populations for a short time, without becoming widespread or invasive.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare     Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: HEMICRYPTOPHYTE ( prostate plants with flowers close to the ground )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

May – July

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Trifolium: three-leaved since plants of this genus have a compound leaf of three identical leaflets. (Latin origin )
pratense: Pasture land, that is, vegetated fields used for cattle to graze on. This species is often found in this habitat. (Latin origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Remarks :

Species not seen for many decades and rediscoverd in fields at Qormi (Stephen Mifsud, 25-June-2007) where a specimen was deposited at the National Herbarium of Argotti Gardens

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Meadows and pastures on fertile and moist but well-drained soils from sea-level to 3150 m; extensively cultivated as a forage crop.
Preferred habitat in Malta: A single population was found in a fallow field here in Malta possibly introduced from contaminated grain
Botanical Description: Perennial, caespitose, more or less hairy; stems 5-100 cm. Leaflets obovate, or oblong-lanceolate to nearly orbicular, hairy below, often glabrescent above. Stipules triangular above, abruptly contracted into a setaceous, usually ciliate point; upper stipules very wide. Heads 20-40 mm, globose or ovoid, solitary or paired, usually sessile and involucrate. Calyx-tube 10-veined, usually appressed-hairy; teeth triangular with filiform apex, straight, ciliate, separated by broad sinuses, the lowest one about twice as long as the tube. Corolla 12-15 mm usually reddish-purple or pink, rarely cream or white, (1-)2 times as long as the lowest calyx-tooth. Legume ovate, with a thickened apex.
Chromosome number: 2n=14
Distributional range: Throughout Europe except for parts of the extreme north and parts of the extreme south introduced in Iceland and the Faroes.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
All except the Balaeric Islands, Crete, Svalbard archipelago
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
Ab(A N) Ag Al Ar Au(A) Az Be(B) Br Bu By Co Cr Cz Da Es Fe Ga(F) Ge Gg(A D G) Gr Hb(E) He Ho Hs(S) Hu Ir It Ju La Lt Lu Ma Mo No Po Rf(C CS E K N NW S) Rm Sa dSi(M) Si(S) Su Tn Tu(A E) Uk(K U) [Ab(A N) Ar By Es Fa Gg(A D G) Is La LS Lt Mo Rf(A C E K N NW S) Uk(K)]

Links & Further literature (1 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Updates in the Flora of the Maltese Islands (Central Mediterranean) Stephen Mifsud  (2007)
Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (24 images)
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-0.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-1.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-2.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-3.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-4.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-5.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-6.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-7.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-8.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-9.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-10.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-11.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-12.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-13.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-14.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-15.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-16.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-17.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-18.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-19.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-20.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-21.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-22.
   Trifolium pratense   -   Image Code: TRFPR-23.

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Section B:   Where have you seen this plant on the Maltese Islands?
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