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Knotted Clover

Trifolium striatum

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Fabaceae (Pea)
Also in this family:
Alpine Milk-vetch, Alsike Clover, Birdsfoot, Birdsfoot Clover, Bird's-foot Trefoil, Bithynian Vetch, Bitter Vetch, Black Broom, Black Medick, Bladder Senna, Broad Bean, Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea, Bur Medick, Burrowing Clover, Bush Vetch, Clustered Clover, Common Broom, Common Gorse, Common Laburnum, Common Restharrow, Common Vetch, Crimson Clover, Crown Vetch, Dragon's Teeth, Dwarf Gorse, Dyer's Greenweed, False Acacia, Fine-leaved Vetch, Fodder Vetch, Garden Lupin, Garden Pea, Goat's Rue, Grass Vetchling, Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil, Hairy Bird's-foot Trefoil, Hairy Greenweed, Hairy Tare, Hairy Vetchling, Hairy-fruited Broom, Haresfoot Clover, Hop Trefoil, Horseshoe Vetch, Hungarian Vetch, Kidney Vetch, Large Trefoil, Lesser Trefoil, Lucerne, Marsh Pea, Meadow Vetchling, Narrow-leaved Bird's-foot Trefoil, Narrow-leaved Everlasting Pea, Narrow-leaved Vetch, Nootka Lupin, Norfolk Everlasting Pea, Orange Birdsfoot, Petty Whin, Purple Milk-vetch, Purple Oxytropis, Red Clover, Reversed Clover, Ribbed Melilot, Rough Clover, Russell Lupin, Sainfoin, Scorpion Senna, Scottish Laburnum, Sea Clover, Sea Pea, Sickle Medick, Slender Bird's-foot Trefoil, Slender Tare, Slender Trefoil, Small Melilot, Small Restharrow, Smooth Tare, Spanish Broom, Spanish Gorse, Spiny Restharrow, Spotted Medick, Spring Vetch, Strawberry Clover, Suffocated Clover, Sulphur Clover, Tall Melilot, Toothed Medick, Tree Lupin, Tuberous Pea, Tufted Vetch, Twin-headed Clover, Two-flowered Everlasting Pea, Upright Clover, Upright Vetch, Western Clover, Western Gorse, White Broom, White Clover, White Lupin, White Melilot, Wild Liquorice, Wood Vetch, Yellow Oxytropis, Yellow Vetch, Yellow Vetchling, Zigzag Clover
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Beaches, fields, grassland, meadows, roadsides, sand dunes, seaside, wasteland.

Pink, 5 petals
Unstalked, egg-shaped, pale pink flowerheads, up to 15mm across. 10 stamens.
A single-seeded pod.
A sprawling annual plant. Hairy on both sides of the leaves. Its alternate leaves are each divided into 3 oval leaflets with finely toothed margins.
Other Names:
Soft Clover, Soft Knotted Clover, Soft Trefoil, Strawberry Clover.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Trifolium striatum, also known as strawberry clover, is a perennial legume native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It is often used as a forage crop for livestock, as well as a cover crop to improve soil fertility and structure. The plant has small, pink or white flowers and grows best in cool, moist climates. It is adapted to a variety of soil types and can tolerate heavy grazing. Like other clovers, Trifolium striatum is able to fix nitrogen in the soil, making it a valuable addition to crop rotations.


Knotted clover, also known as Trifolium striatum, is a plant species in the pea family that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a low-growing herb that spreads by underground runners, forming dense mats of leaves and small pink or white flowers.

This plant is known for its unique characteristic of having leaves with distinctive knots along the stem. These knots are actually nodes, which are the points where the stem branches off to produce leaves or flowers.

Despite its attractive appearance, knotted clover is considered an invasive weed in many parts of the world, including the United States and Canada. This is because it can quickly spread and overtake native vegetation, disrupting local ecosystems.

However, knotted clover has a number of uses. For example, it is often used as a cover crop to help control erosion, improve soil health, and suppress weeds. It is also used as a food source for livestock, particularly in areas where other forage crops are scarce.

Another use for knotted clover is in traditional medicine. In some cultures, the plant has been used as a remedy for various ailments, such as digestive problems and skin conditions. However, it is important to note that more research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of these remedies and to determine if they are safe for human use.

Knotted clover is a plant species with a unique appearance and a range of uses. While it can be invasive in certain parts of the world, it can also have a positive impact on the environment and livestock when used correctly. Before using knotted clover for any purpose, it is important to carefully consider the potential risks and benefits and to consult with a knowledgeable professional if needed.

In addition to its uses in agriculture and traditional medicine, knotted clover has also been studied for its potential as a biofuel crop. The plant is known for its high biomass production and fast growth rate, which makes it a promising candidate for producing biofuels such as bioethanol.

One study found that knotted clover produced a higher yield of bioethanol per unit of land compared to other biofuel crops such as corn and switchgrass. This is because knotted clover is able to grow in a wide range of environments, including areas with poor soil quality and low rainfall, and it also requires fewer inputs such as fertilizer and water compared to other crops.

However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential of knotted clover as a biofuel crop and to determine the best methods for processing and refining the bioethanol it produces. Additionally, it is important to consider the environmental impact of using knotted clover or any other crop for biofuel production.

Another area of research for knotted clover is its potential for phytoremediation, the use of plants to clean up contaminated soil and water. One study found that knotted clover was effective at removing heavy metals such as cadmium and lead from contaminated soil, which makes it a promising candidate for use in phytoremediation projects.

Knotted clover is a plant species with many potential uses, including as a cover crop, food source, traditional medicine, biofuel crop, and phytoremediation tool. While more research is needed to fully understand the benefits and limitations of these uses, knotted clover has the potential to play a significant role in a variety of industries and applications.

It is also worth mentioning that knotted clover has ornamental value and is often used in landscaping and gardening. The plant is drought-tolerant and requires little maintenance, making it a good choice for low-maintenance garden beds and rock gardens. In addition, the delicate flowers and unique foliage of knotted clover can add a touch of beauty to any outdoor space.

However, it is important to exercise caution when using knotted clover in landscaping, as it can easily spread and become invasive if not properly managed. In some areas, the sale and use of knotted clover as an ornamental plant may be restricted or regulated due to its invasive nature.

In terms of its biology, knotted clover is a hardy plant that is able to grow in a range of conditions, from poor soil to dry, rocky areas. It is also tolerant of cold and frost, making it a good choice for gardens in cooler climates.

The plant reproduces by underground runners and can quickly form dense mats of leaves and flowers. The leaves are trifoliate, meaning they have three leaflets, and they are typically green in color with a slightly hairy texture. The flowers are small and pink or white, and they are arranged in clusters at the end of the stems.

Knotted clover is a versatile and hardy plant with a range of uses, from agriculture and biofuel production to ornamental landscaping. However, it is important to be mindful of its invasive nature and to properly manage the plant to ensure it does not become a problem in your local ecosystem. Regardless of its potential drawbacks, knotted clover remains an interesting and valuable species with a lot to offer.

It's also worth noting that knotted clover is a beneficial plant for wildlife, providing food and habitat for a variety of species. The small flowers are a source of nectar for bees and other pollinators, while the leaves and stems provide food for browsing mammals such as deer and rabbits.

In addition, the dense mats of leaves and stems formed by knotted clover can provide valuable habitat for ground-dwelling wildlife, such as reptiles and amphibians. The plant can also help to stabilize soil and reduce erosion, providing important ecosystem services in areas prone to erosion or soil degradation.

However, it's important to be aware that invasive plant species like knotted clover can also displace native vegetation and reduce biodiversity in an ecosystem. This can lead to a decline in the number and variety of wildlife species in an area, and it can also negatively impact the overall health of the ecosystem.

In terms of its ecology, knotted clover is a pioneer species that is able to quickly colonize disturbed or degraded areas. This makes it well-suited to areas that have been impacted by human activities, such as construction or deforestation. However, this ability to quickly spread and establish itself in new areas can also make it a problematic weed in areas where it is not desired.

In conclusion, knotted clover is a valuable plant for wildlife and the ecosystem, providing food and habitat for a variety of species and helping to stabilize soil and reduce erosion. However, it's important to be mindful of its invasive nature and to properly manage the plant to ensure it does not become a problem in your local ecosystem. With its many benefits and drawbacks, knotted clover remains an interesting and complex species that is well worth studying and understanding.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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