A very familiar and common plant, red clover could be confused with zigzag clover but it has a flower head on a short stalk (red clover is stalkless and is nested between two leaves) and lacks the lighter V-shape found on the leaflets of red clover. The commercial form (Trifolium pratense var. sativum), which is widely planted for fodder and is found in some cheap flower mixtures, is short lived and far more robust and erect than our plants (Trifolium pratense var. pratense).
As a wild plant red clover is a long lived perennial of hay meadows and other semi-natural grasslands. It is common on all but the most acidic, waterlogged or infertile site but prefers well drained, damp and slightly acid soils. It cannot tolerate high inputs of nitrogen (either in the form of fertilizer or manure) and is sensitive to over grazing. Red clover is an important nectar and pollen source for a number of species of bumble bee.
Can be sown at any time of the year, may be a little slow to germinate with some evidence that peak germination occurs in autumn. Wild red clover can be added to any meadow mixture. As it can rapidly colonize newly sown meadows we would recommend that it constituted no more than 1% by weight of the total seed mix.