Red Clover
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Red Clover
ative trifoliate Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Red Clover, Purple clover, Broad-leaved clover • Hindi: त्रिपत्रा Tripatra
Botanical name: Trifolium pratense    Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)

Red Clover is a species of clover, which can be easily distinguished from its close cousin White Clover by its much larger plant, with distinctly pink blooms. It is a herbaceous perennial plant, very variable in size, growing to more than 2 feet tall. The leaves are trifoliate (with three leaflets), each leaflet 15-30 mm long and 8-15 mm broad, green with a characteristic pale crescent in the outer half of the leaf; the petiole is 1-4 cm long, with two basal stipules. The flowers are dark pink with a paler base, 12-15 mm long, produced in a dense inflorescence 2-3 cm diameter. The plant was named Trifolium pratense by Carolus Linnaeus in 1753. The botanical name pratense is Latin for "found in meadows", which is very much true. It is the national flower of Denmark. Red Clover is native to Europe and Northern Asia. It is also found in the Himalayas.
Medicinal uses: A tea from the flower has long been considered an antispasmodic and mild sedative and has been used for various lung and throat problem such as sore throats, coughs and asthma. The flowers were once smoked as an asthma treatment. Externally it is used as a salve for burns and sores. There seems to be no scientific evidence to support medical uses of Clover, but, being edible it probably can't hurt unless it is used instead of more effective treatments.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Kufri, Himachal Pradesh.

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