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Synonyms : Trifolium minus – Sm.
Sub-erect to prostrate annual, glabrous to slightly pubescent foliage with slender, wiry stems, 0.3-0.6 m, branched at the base. On the stems there are sometimes downy hairs which turn red with age. Grey-green, narrow leaflets are triangular and broadest at the apex; terminal leaflet stalked; broad-based stipules are sharply pointed. Has short tap root but a mass of fibrous roots in upper soil layers. Inflorescences, borne on axillary stalks, are round racemes each with 12-30 lemon yellow florets which become reversed after flowering.It is hardy to zone 0 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to October, and the seeds ripen from July to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile. It can fix Nitrogen. It is noted for attracting wildlife. Oval-shaped seeds, yellow to olive in colour, borne singly in seed pods.
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The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.
Succeeds in a moist, well-drained circum-neutral soil in full sun. Succeeds in poor soils. Grows well in a wild flower lawn. It grows well in an apple orchard, the trees will produce tastier fruit that stores better. It should not be grown with camellias or gooseberries because it harbours a mite that can cause fruit drop in the gooseberries and premature budding in the camellias. The nectar-rich flowers are a good food source for bees and butterflies. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. Buttercups growing nearby depress the growth of the nitrogen bacteria by means of a root exudate. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.
Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in spring to early summer in situ.
The plant is haemostatic. A poultice of the chopped plant has been applied to cuts to stop the bleeding.
The plant fixes atmospheric nitrogen and is used in seed mixes with grasses for land reclamation sowings.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
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