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clover,any plant of the genus Trifolium, leguminous hay and forage plants of the family Leguminosae (pulsepulse,
in botany, common name for members of the Fabaceae (Leguminosae), a large plant family, called also the pea, or legume, family. Numbering about 650 genera and 17,000 species, the family is third largest, after the asters and the orchids.
..... Click the link for more information. family). Most of the species are native to north temperate or subtropical regions, and all the American cultivated forms have been introduced from Europe. Red clover (T. pratense), the state flower of Vermont, was the leading leguminous hay crop of the northeastern regions until it was surpassed by alfalfa. It is frequently seeded with timothy. Swedish, or alsike, clover (T. hybridum) is similarly used in the same area. The common white, or Dutch, clover (T. repens) is also cultivated at times but is considered a weed in fields and pastures, where it spreads rapidly. Its dried flower and seed heads were used for making bread during famines in Ireland and the leaves are eaten as salad in some parts of the United States. The clovers are excellent honey plants. Other plants are sometimes called clover, e.g., the related melilot, or sweet cloversweet clover
, Eurasian and North African leguminous herbs of the genus Melilotus of the family Leguminosae (pulse family). Sweet clovers, now widely naturalized in North America, are used as forage, cover, and soiling crops.
..... Click the link for more information. . Clover was used by the Greeks in garlands and other decorations. The druids held it sacred. It is said to have been the early emblem of Ireland from which the shamrock is derived, and it is an emblem of the Trinity. English and American poets have celebrated it. A four-leaved clover is thought to bring good luck. See also lespedezalespedeza
or bush clover,
any plant of the genus Lespedeza, leguminous herbs or undershrubs of the family Leguminosae (pulse family); native to North America, Asia, and Australia.
..... Click the link for more information. ; trefoiltrefoil
[O.Fr.,=three-leaf], in botany, name for several plants, chiefly of the pulse family, having trifoliate leaves. Best known of the trefoils is clover. The bird's-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus
..... Click the link for more information. . Clover is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
..... Click the link for more information. , class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Leguminosae.
See bulletins of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.
(Trifolium), a genus of perennial and annual herbaceous plants of the family Leguminosae. The stems are cylindrical. The leaves are ternate; in some species they are palmatisect, with five to nine leaflets. The flowers are small and are usually red, pink, yellow, or white. They are gathered into inflorescences in the form of spherical heads or, in some species, racemes. The fruit is a leathery pod with one or two seeds (rarely between three and six seeds). The roots are rodlike, cylindrical, or spindle-shaped thickenings. In some species a rhizome develops. Nodules containing bacteria that assimilate nitrogen from the air form on the rootlets, increasing the fertility of the soil.
There are approximately 300 species, distributed primarily in Europe, Asia, North America, Australia, and some regions of Africa. In the USSR there are approximately 70 species. The majority of clovers are valuable fodder plants with high protein content. The perennial species of clover that are widely distributed in the USSR include red clover (Trifolium pratense), alsike, or Swedish, clover (T. hybridum), and white clover (T. repens). They grow wild and are cultivated in field and fodder crop rotations. The annual clovers that are valuable fodder plants include Egyptian clover (T. alexandrinum), Italian, or crimson, clover (T. incarnatum), and reversed clover (T. resupinatum). The most widespread wild clovers are zigzag, or cow, clover (T. medium) and strawberry clover (T. fragiferum).
The most important cultivated species is red clover, which is grown in almost all the countries of Europe, America, Asia, and New Zealand. Red clover has been sown for more than 200 years in Russia. In the USSR it is the most common fodder plant of the family Leguminosae. It is cultivated in almost the entire forest zone, in many regions of the forest-steppe zone, in mountainous regions, and on foothills. According to morphological and biological characteristics, red clover is divided into two basic varieties— T. pratense serotinum and T. pratense praecox. The former is a winter variety; it is more winter hardy and longer-lived than T. pratense praecox, which develops in spring. When planted in southern regions in the early spring without cover, T. pratense praecox yields seed in its first season. It is grown in the southwestern part of the clover-sowing zone and in many western regions of the USSR. T. pratense serotinum is cultivated throughout the northern and northeastern regions and in many central and northwestern regions; it is also cultivated in Siberia.
Although clover requires moisture, it does not tolerate an excess of it. It develops best on slightly acid or neutral soils (pH 5.5–7.0). It is responsive to organic and organomineral fertilizers used for the cover or predecessor crop. In field rotations clover is cultivated in pure form and mixed with grains and other leguminous herbs. For pure sowing the seeding rate is 14–16 kg per hectare (ha); in a mixture with timothy, 13–15 kg per ha of clover with 3–6 kg per ha of timothy. Clover is harvested for fodder in its budding stage, or early blossoming. In order to obtain seeds, certain sectors are separated from general sowings or special seed plants are marked out. The principal agents of cross-pollination are bumblebees and common honeybees. On the best farms the total yield is up to 400 centners; of hay, 60–80 centners; and of seeds, up to 3–4 centners per hectare. Red clover is used as green fodder, hay, herbal meal, and silage; it is also used in grass mixtures when sowing hayfields and pastures. The chemical composition of red clover averages 77.1 percent water, 3.8 percent protein, 0.8 percent fat, 6.5 percent cellulose, 10.1 percent nonnitrogenous extractive matter, and 1.7 percent ash. One hundred kg of green mass contains 19.8 fodder units and 2.7 kg of digestible protein.
In the USSR, alsike clover grows wild in the European USSR, the Urals, Crimea, and the Caucasus. It is cultivated in several regions, including the Baltic Region. It is moisture-loving and demands less in terms of soil than red clover. Agricultural procedure is basically the same for alsike clover as it is for red clover. Alsike clover is a valuable fodder plant. Because of its bitter taste, it is less readily eaten in pure form than red clover. It is advisable to feed it to livestock in a mixture with cereal plants.
White clover is distributed almost everywhere in the USSR. It is distinguished for the diversity of its forms, few of which are cultivated. White clover is principally a pasture plant. It is used in mixtures with other clovers and cereal plants for creating long-term pastures. It tolerates grazing well and grows quickly.
In the USSR a great deal of scientific work is being conducted in the study and breeding of clover. Six varieties of alsike clover, 117 selected varieties of red clover, and four varieties of white clover have been regionalized in the USSR.
REFERENCESBobrov, E. G. Novye dlia kul’tury vidy klevera. Moscow-Leningrad, 1950.
Klever, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1963.
Sergeev, P. A. Klever na semena. Moscow, 1965.
P. A. SERGEEV