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Reversed Clover

Trifolium resupinatum

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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, 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, 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:
20 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, grassland, meadows, roadsides, wasteland.

Pink, 5 petals
Pink or light reddish, compact flowerheads. The flowers are said to be upside down (hence 'Reversed Clover') with the keel at the top and standard below.
Downy, single-seeded pods.
An annual flower with small trefoil leaves and toothed margins. The leaf veins are recurved.
Other Names:
Bird-eye Clover, Persian Clover, Shaftal, Shaftal Clover, White Clover.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Trifolium resupinatum, also known as reversed clover or white clover, is a perennial plant in the family Fabaceae. It is native to Europe and Asia and is found in grassland and meadow habitats. The plant has white flowers that bloom in the summer. It grows to be about 20 cm (8 inches) tall and prefers well-drained, moist soil. It is often used as an ornamental plant in gardens, and it is also used as a natural dye and as a cover crop. Trifolium resupinatum is also used medicinally for its astringent and expectorant properties.


Reversed Clover (Trifolium resupinatum) is a unique species of clover that is known for its distinctive upside-down flower head. This annual herb is native to the Mediterranean region and is widely cultivated for its ornamental and agricultural purposes.

Reversed Clover is a low-growing plant that reaches a height of about 10-30 cm. Its leaves are green and trifoliate, meaning they are divided into three leaflets. The flowers are small and are arranged in an inverted cone-like shape, which gives the plant its common name. The flowers are usually pink or purple and bloom from May to September.

In agriculture, Reversed Clover is used as a cover crop and for soil improvement. It is a nitrogen-fixing plant, meaning it can add nitrogen to the soil, making it a valuable addition to crop rotations. It is also commonly used as a pasture crop for livestock and is a food source for bees and other pollinators.

Reversed Clover is also a popular ornamental plant, grown for its attractive flowers and low-growing habit. It is often used as a groundcover in gardens and as an edging plant along pathways and garden beds. It is also used in rock gardens and wildflower meadows.

Reversed Clover is a unique and versatile plant with many uses. Its distinctive inverted flowers, combined with its nitrogen-fixing ability and its use as a food source for pollinators make it a valuable addition to any garden or agricultural setting.

Reversed Clover is relatively easy to grow and care for, making it a great choice for both seasoned gardeners and beginners. It prefers well-drained soils and full sun to partial shade. Once established, it is drought tolerant and can tolerate dry conditions.

However, it is important to note that Reversed Clover can become invasive in some areas, particularly in regions with mild climates. Gardeners should be mindful of this and consider planting it in containers or in areas where it can be easily managed.

In addition to its ornamental and agricultural uses, Reversed Clover has also been used for medicinal purposes. In traditional medicine, it has been used to treat a range of ailments, including respiratory problems, digestive issues, and skin disorders.

In recent years, researchers have also studied the potential benefits of Reversed Clover for human health. Some studies suggest that compounds found in the plant may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, making it a potential source of natural remedies for various health conditions.

Overall, Reversed Clover is a fascinating and valuable plant with a rich history of use and cultural significance. Whether grown for its ornamental appeal, its benefits to the soil and wildlife, or its potential health benefits, it is a plant that deserves a place in any garden or agricultural setting.

It is also worth mentioning that Reversed Clover has cultural and symbolic significance in many different cultures and traditions. In ancient Greece, clovers were believed to bring good luck and were often used as a charm against evil spirits. In medieval times, clovers were considered a symbol of the Holy Trinity and were used in religious iconography.

In modern times, clovers continue to be a popular symbol of good luck, and four-leaf clovers are particularly sought after. The four leaves are believed to represent hope, faith, love, and luck, making them a popular gift for special occasions and a popular subject of folktales and legends.

Reversed Clover, with its unique upside-down flowers, adds an interesting and unique element to this cultural and symbolic history of clovers. Its distinctive appearance makes it a great choice for those who want to incorporate a touch of the unusual and unexpected into their gardens.

In summary, Reversed Clover is a plant that is rich in history, culture, and significance. Its many uses, from ornamental and agricultural to medicinal and symbolic, make it a valuable and versatile plant that deserves to be more widely appreciated and cultivated. Whether grown for its ornamental appeal, its benefits to the soil and wildlife, or its potential health benefits, it is a plant that is sure to bring joy and interest to any garden or agricultural setting.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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