Trifolium repens

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaFabaceaeTrifoliumTrifolium repens


A stoloniferous perennial herb, occurring in grasslands on all but the wettest or most acidic soils; also on waste ground and in other ruderal habitats. It is very tolerant of grazing, mowing and trampling and is often scarce or absent in taller grassland. It is very widely sown as a component of short and medium term leys, and on roadsides, and many commercial cultivars are available. Generally below 400 m, but reaching 880 m in the Breadalbanes (Mid Perth).



World Distribution

Eurosiberian Boreo-temperate element, but widely naturalised so that distribution is now Circumpolar Boreo-temperate.

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 5

Reaction (Ellenberg): 6

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 6


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.5

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.5

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1105

Life form information

Height (cm): 20

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary


Life Form - secondary




Clonality - primary

Extensively creeping and rooting at nodes

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2798

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 981

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 14

Atlas Change Index: 1.31

Weighted Changed Factor: -84

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (108c)
Burdon JJ
1983.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 154. Trifolium repens L. Journal of Ecology. 71:307-330.
Davis A
1992.  Exploited plants. White clover. Biologist. 39:129-133.
Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R
1988.  Comparative Plant Ecology.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
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