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or Trefoil Clover

flowers, britain, native, cultivated, common and species

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CLOVER, or TRE'FOIL, TrifaiUM, a genus of plants of the natural order leguminsce, sub-order containing a great number of species, natives chiefly of temper ate climates, abounding most of all in Europe. and some of them very important in agriculture as affording pasturage and fodder for cattle. The name C. is indeed popu larly extended to many plants not included in this genus, but belonging to the same natural order, and agreeing with it in having the leaves formed of three leaflets, particu larly to those of them which are cultivated for the same purposes, and sometimes col lectively receive from farmers the very incorrect designation of artlficial grasses, in contradistinction to natural grasses, i.e., true grasses. See MEDICK and MELILOT. The true clovers (trifolium) have herbaceous, not twining stems; roundish heads or oblong spikes of small flowers; the corolla remaining in a withered state till the ripening of the seed; the pod inclosed in the calyx; and containing one or two, rarely three or four seeds. About 17 species belong to the flora of Britain. The most important of all to the British farmer is the COMION RED 0. (T. pratenee), a native of Britain and of most parts of Europe, in meadoWs and pastures. It'iS s perennial, but is generally treated as if it were a biennial. Its heads of flowers are oval or nearly globular, very compact, about an inch in diameter, purple, more rarely flesh-colored or white; the tube of the calyx is downy; the stipules run suddenly into a bristly point. The leaflets have very often a whitish horseshoe mark in the center. This plant was formerly reputed very noisome to witches; knights and peasants wore the leaf as a potent charm against their arts. It is supposed that C. found its way into England from the Netherlands about the time of queen Elizabeth; but it was not until the close of the last century that it was introduced into Scotland, where it is now universally- prevalent. The ZIGZAG C. (T. medium), also called MEADOW C., MARL-GRASS, and COW-GRASS, much resembles the common red C., but is easily distinguished by the smooth tube of the calyx, and by the broader, less membranaceous, and gradually acuminated stipules. The stems are also

remarkably zigzag, and more rigid than in T. pratense; the beads of flowers are larger, more lax, more nearly globose, and of a deeper purple color; and the leaflets have no white spot. It is a common plant in Britain and most parts of Europe.—WitrTE or DUTCH C. (T. repots) is also a common native of Britain and of most parts of Europe. When a barren heath is turned up with the spade or plow, white C. almost always appears. It is said to be a native also of North America, where, however, it is perhaps ouly naturalized. The flowers of all kinds of C. are the delight of bees, but those of this species perhaps particularly so.—ALsiKE C. (T. hybridum), a perennial, regarded as intermediate in appearance between the common red C. and the white C., has of late attained a very high reputation. It was introduced into Britain from the s. of Sweden rather more than twenty years ago.—CRIMSON C., or ITALIAN C. (2'. incarnatum), an annual, native of the s. of Europe, with oblong or cylindrical spikes of rich crim son flowers, is much cultivated in France and Italy, and has of late been pretty exlen sively grown in some parts of England, producing a heavy crop.—MoLLNEn's C. (T. Holineri) very much resembles crimson C., is biennial, and has pale flowers. It is cultivated in France and Switzerland.—ALEXA:s.:DRIAN C., or EGYPTIAN C. (T. .Alexan drinum), an annual species, a native of Egypt, universally cultivated in its native country, where it is the principal fodder for cattle, has been tried in Britain, but the colder climate has been found to render it less luxuriant and productive. It is supposed to be one of the best kinds of C. for many of the British colonies. It has oval heads of pale-yellow or whitish flowers.—YELLOW C., or Hop TREFOIL (T. procumbcns), is very common in dry gravelly soils in Britain, but not much esteemed. Ithas smaller leaves and heads of flowers than any of the cultivated species. The flowers are yellow.

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