crimson clover

(Trifolium incarnatum)

Conservation Status


No image available

  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern


NNA - Not applicable

SNA - Not applicable


not listed


Crimson clover is an annual forb that rises on a rosette of stems from a taproot.

The stems are erect or semi-erect and densely hairy with a few side branches.

The leaves are alternate and compound, divided into 3 leaflets. The leaflets are broadly egg-shaped and rounded at the tip.

The inflorescence is a head-like cluster at the end of each stem and branch. The flower heads are cone-shaped, pointed, and 1 to 2 tall. Each head has up to 75 to 125 flowers.

The flowers are pea-like, with 5 petals organized into a banner, 2 wings, and a keel formed by two petals fused together at the tip. The banner is longer than the wings and the keel. The individual flowers are stalkless. The petals are crimson red.

The fruit is a seed pod containing a single seed.




6 to 30


Flower Color


Crismon red


Similar Species


Alsike clover (Trifolium hybridum) stems are hairless or nearly hairless. The petals are pale pink to pinkish-white.

Red clover (Trifolium pratense) stems are less hairy. The leaflets have a pale V-shaped marking on the upper surface. The petals are pink or magenta.

White clover (Trifolium repens) stems are creeping and they root at the nodes. Flowers and leaves are borne on separate stalks. The leaflets have have a pale, crescent-shaped, not V-shaped, marking on the upper surface. The petals are white or white tinted with pink.


Disturbed sites. Full or partial sun.




May to July




Distribution Map



3, 4, 5.




Native of Europe, Turkey, and Macaronesia. Introduced, cultivated, and naturalized in North America.




Rare in Minnesota

  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Rosanae  


Fabales (legumes, milkworts, and allies)  


Fabaceae (legumes)  
  Subfamily Faboideae  


  Genus Trifolium (clover)  
  Subgenus Trifolium  
  Section Trifolium  

Subordinate Taxa


Several of the Trifolium species that occur in Minnesota have had two or more subspecies and/or varieties described. For each of these species, the infrataxa are recognized by GRIN but not by ITIS or by USDA PLANTS.

Two varieties of crimson clover have been recognized. Only the nominate varieties, var. incarnatum, occurs in North America.



  Trifolium incarnatum var. elatius  

Common Names


carnation clover

crimson clover

French clover

Italian clover

scarlet clover











Visitor Photos

Share your photo of this plant.

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption. Photos






Visitor Videos

Share your video of this plant.

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Attach one or more videos or YouTube links and, if you like, a caption.

Other Videos



Visitor Sightings

Report a sighting of this plant.

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Be sure to include a location.






Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © All rights reserved.