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Suffocated Clover

Trifolium suffocatum

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.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


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, Knotted Clover, 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, 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:
8 centimetres tall
Fields, grassland, rocky places, seaside, wasteland.

White, 5 petals
The flowers of Suffocated Clover are very difficult to see. This is because the flowers are mostly hidden by the sepal teeth. In fruit the sepal teeth bend backwards. The flowers are tiny, white and reach up to 4mm across.
The fruit is enclosed within the flower. 2 seeded.
A very low-growing, hairless annual with with sharp-toothed trefoil (3 leaflets) leaves.
Other Names:
Sand Clover, Tunisian Clover.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Trifolium suffocatum, also known as Tunisian clover or suffocating 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 suffocatum is able to fix nitrogen in the soil, making it a valuable addition to crop rotations.


Suffocated Clover, Trifolium suffocatum, is a plant species in the Fabaceae family. It is a small, herbaceous, annual plant that grows in meadows, grasslands, and disturbed areas. The plant is native to the Mediterranean region, but it has now spread to many other parts of the world and can be found in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Suffocated clover gets its name from the dense mats of foliage it forms on the ground. The plant grows prostrate and has small, delicate leaves that are a brilliant green color. The stems of the plant are covered with short, stiff hairs that give it a soft, velvety appearance.

The plant blooms from June to October and produces small, pinkish-purple flowers. The flowers are relatively insignificant and are often hidden within the dense foliage of the plant. However, they do provide an important source of nectar and pollen for a variety of insects, including bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.

One of the most notable features of suffocated clover is its ability to form dense mats on the ground. This makes it an excellent plant for erosion control, as the dense foliage helps to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion. In addition, the plant is an important food source for a variety of wildlife, including rabbits, squirrels, and other small mammals.

Despite its many benefits, suffocated clover can also be a problem in some areas. It is considered an invasive species in many parts of the world and can quickly outcompete native vegetation. In addition, the dense mats of foliage can make it difficult for other plants to grow and can lead to reduced biodiversity in an area.

Suffocated Clover, Trifolium suffocatum, is a fascinating plant species that has many benefits and drawbacks. While it can be an excellent source of food and habitat for wildlife, it can also be an invasive species that can harm native vegetation and reduce biodiversity. If you are interested in growing this plant, it is important to be aware of its potential impacts and to plant it responsibly.

Suffocated Clover is a low-maintenance plant and is easy to grow in a variety of soil types, including clay, sand, and loam. It is also tolerant of a range of pH levels and can grow in both sunny and partially shaded areas. Once established, suffocated clover is drought-tolerant and does not require much water.

In terms of management, suffocated clover can be controlled by removing it manually or through the use of herbicides. If you are removing the plant manually, it is important to remove all of the roots, as it will re-grow from even small pieces of root. If you are using herbicides, it is important to follow all label instructions and to choose a product that is appropriate for your specific location.

Suffocated clover can also be used in agricultural systems as a cover crop. When grown between cash crops, suffocated clover helps to improve soil health and fertility by adding nitrogen to the soil. It is also a useful crop for suppressing weeds and for reducing erosion.

Overall, suffocated clover is a versatile and useful plant species that has a wide range of benefits and uses. Whether you are looking to use it for erosion control, wildlife habitat, or as a cover crop, it is a plant that is worth considering. Just be sure to plant it responsibly and to be aware of its potential impacts on native vegetation.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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