Red Clover - Trifolium pratense - Western Isles White Wildflowers

Red Clover - Western Isles Wildflowers

Red Clover - Pink /Red Wildflowers
These lovely pink - red flowers display through the summer months on the machair's and grasslands throughout the islands on both Lewis and Harris. . Although common wildflowers throughout Scotland, when viewed close up, you can see their beauty.

They are perhaps so common hers as indeed throughout Scotland that they are probably overlooked, when in fact if you view them close up. you can see that they are a flower of great beauty. This plant does not like acidic soil.


Flowers Range in Colour Depth
The depth of the colour of these wildflowers, varies greatly from paler pinks, through to the bright vivid reds and also darker almost purple colours

Family - Fabaceae or Leguminose

These pink wildflowers the Red clover belong to the Fabaceae family, previously called the Leguminoseaes - of which the peas and beans also belong.

These are a group of plants that take nitrogen from the atmosphere & “fix” it, or make it biologically available to other plants which is why it has been used in crop rotation as a way of enriching the soil.

Common Names
The red clover has many common names, kitty clover, marl grass, cow clover, meadow clover, wild clover

These wildflowers are perennials and the height of these lovely pink purple wildflowers can vary from 20–80 cm tall.

The plant flowers from April to November. The bell-shaped calyx is usually 10-veined and has 5 linear lobes (often referred to as calyx teeth); the petals are about twice the calyx length.

Difference between Red Clover White Clover
Obviously the main difference is the colour of the flowers, however it is also that the V mark on the leaves is present on the red clover but not so for the white clover.

Added to this, the leaves of white clover are all on stems that start at the base of a central stem; red clover leaves spring from both the base of the central stem and also above.

Flowers or Florets

The flowers are actually made up of individual florets, up to one hundred of these florets.The flowers are dark pink with a paler base.

As the flower begins to bloom and open up the florets open, the first to open are the florets at the top of the flower, with the lower ones opening last.

In different specimens the florets can appear differently, sometimes being very densely packed and close together and sometimes being further apart.

Latin Name - connected to Hercules

The name clover is actually from the Anglo-Saxon 'cloefer' referring to the 3-knotted club that belonged to Hercules.

There is also another probable explanation for the name and that is that its name comes from the Latin “clava”, meaning a club.Trifolium (Pliny) is from the Latin tres or three; folium, leaf, hence trefoil. The latter part of the name Pratensel refers to the meadow habitat


Christianity Belief
Christians believed the three-leaf clover was a symbol of the Trinity, so you will often see them carved inside churches, on pews and in church windows.

Red Clover at Ghioridail- Tolsta Head  - Isle of Lewis Wildflowers
Click pictures below for larger photographs


Honey Bearing Wildflower
Many insects are attracted to the red clover. particularly bees and it is also very important to the butterflies. In fact the plant is commonly also called "Bee Bread" because it is so important to the bumblebees.

The tube like petals provide the honey which is to be found at the bottom of the stamens , round the base of the ovary in the tube. When the bees withdraw from the flower they perhaps touch the stigma with some of the pollen, which causes self-pollination. The pod opens at the top, and some seeds then fall out.

Red Clover - Hebrides Flowers
Red Clover Leaves

The leaves are trifoliate, leaflets being in threes. The leaflets are oblong, blunt, with a white spot and are finely toothed or notched coming to a blunt point.

Bristly & Hairy
They are bristly or hairy and have a white “V” mark in the centre, called a chevron. The three leaves were said to correspond to the triad goddesses of Mythology, and later to the Trinity in Christianity.

The leaves provide food for caterpillars, butterflies and some moths. Although the usual number of leaves is three - there are sometimes specimens to be seen that have either two, four or even five leaves

The hairy stems prevent ants from easily climbing them.

To dream of a field of Clover is lucky. There is a lot of folklore which surrounds this plant especially the leaves as they are three leafed It was said that if a 3 leaved clover was carried the you would be able to to detect witches, sorcerers and fairies. A 4-leaf Clover is even more powerful than a 3 leafed clover. A 5-leaf Clover was worn by witches to make them even more powerful.

Pop a leaf in your shoe if you are a lady or at the top of a door or swallow it whole, and it is said that the first man to come your way will be the man you will marry.

State Flower of Vermont
In 1895 the red clover was made the official State Flower of Vermont which actually was surprising since Trifolium pratense or Red Clover is not a native of Vermont but was "naturalised" from Europe.

These pretty wildflowers were used in anti-cancer remedies in the 1930s. Also Red Clover is a herb that can assist the lung. It is used to treat lung congestion, bronchitis and whooping cough, and similar breathing illnesses.

This herb also has antibiotic qualities that are useful against several bacteria, including tubercular bacilli. Red Clover can also be used as a gargle for throat soreness, swelling and infections Red Clover is one of the main herbs used in blood purifying. Good for skin problems and for cleansing the lymphatic system.

The plant also contains calcium and magnesium, said to relax the nervous system and improve fertility. It also contains chemicals which have been used in treatments associated with the menopause for hot flushes

The Red Clover plant has also been used to treat skin conditions like psoriasis and other rashes

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