Vegetative Growth
Flowering Plant

Native Red Clover


(Trifolium pratense)

Native red clover, sometimes known as Essex or indigenous red clover, is a native variety to the UK. Generally this variety is smaller and lower yielding than an agriculturally bred strain, but with a longer lifespan. Despite being lower yielding than some varieties, it is notably early to flower, often seen from April to May.


Traditional grass or grass, legume and wild flower mixtures.


A long term perennial plant.


A legume, which is less aggressive than commercially available agricultural strains, It may be included in low levels in traditional grassland or wild flower mixtures.

Frost Tolerance

No winter growth and dies back to a crown just above the soil surface.

Sowing Rate Advice

6kg per acre - 15kg per ha.

Not often sown as a pure stand.

Mixture Sowing Rate Advice

0.2kg - 0.5 kg per acre / 0.5kg - 1.25kg per ha.

Including in a wild flower mixture at a robust rate may smother out some wild flowers.

Ideal Sowing Time

Sow in warm soils from May to early September.

Distinguishing characteristics


This is a rounded, kidney shaped seed. It varies in colour from dark brown to yellowish, green. It is dull with a smooth texture and is approximately 2mm in length. It is a larger seed than white clover.


The seedling develops two oblong cotyledons, on short, stout stalks. The cotyledons are nearly as wide as they are long and the first true leaf is situated on a stipule with a minute hairy covering.

Vegetative State

Flowering Plant

Flowering Plant
A dark green legume, with widely spaced leaves, giving it a less leafy appearance. The trifoliate shaped leaves are on short stalks, each leaflet has its own very short petiole. Each of the leaflets are oval in shape, with a pale almost inverted crescent on the upper surface. The margin of the leaf is not toothed, unlike other clovers. The plant may be hairy, or now and again non hairy. The stem is usually solid in their structure, rather than hollow. The inflorescence can vary in colour from red to pink and very occasionally white. The root has a taproot, with finer lateral branches on either side, the aerial part of the plant grows from a crown slightly above the soil surface.

Additional Info

Average number of seeds per kg 755 000. When compared to early 'double cut' red clover varieties, the native species are generally smaller and shorter, with less stems. Native red clover flowers earlier than other strains, from April to May.

You can find Native Red Clover in the following mixtures