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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

27 January, 2017

Zigzag Clover: round the bend



An odd name for a flower perhaps but an appropriate one. Zigzag clover (Trifolium medium) gets its name from the stem which goes one way to a leaf joint, then turns and heads off in another direction to the next leaf joint and so on, the stem grows in a zigzag.
The flower head itself is not unlike red clover but that said it is quite easily distinguishable. The zigzag-clover is a darker pink and the individual florets are more open and spreading without white marks; it is quite obvious when you see it. Unlike red clover which has a reddish stem, zigzag has a pale green stem and pale green leaves, the higher leaves being a little darker than those below. It often grows in large 'clusters' whilst red clover often covers a large area but each plant is separate.
Once quite common in pastures in the British Isles it is now far less so due to habitat loss. It likes heavy clay soils and so it is not particularly common in Dorset.
Zigzag Clover: round the bend