Hare clover

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Hare clover
Flower heads of the hare clover (Trifolium arvense)

Flower heads of the hare clover ( Trifolium arvense )

Order : Fabales (Fabales)
Family : Legumes (Fabaceae)
Subfamily : Butterflies (Faboideae)
Genre : Clover ( trifolium )
Section : Trifolium
Type : Hare clover
Scientific name
Trifolium arvense

The Trifolium arvense or field clover ( Trifolium arvense ) is a plant of the genus clover ( Trifolium ) within the family of the Leguminosae (Fabaceae).


Section of an inflorescence
Hare clover ( Trifolium arvense )
Hare clover ( Trifolium arvense )
Habitus on a sandy grassland (nature reserve "Gewann France-Wiesental")

The hare clover is an annual herbaceous plant that reaches heights of 10 to 30 centimeters. The stem is upright and often branched expansively. The plant parts are usually very hairy. The hare-clover often has a fairly long taproot . The alternate leaves are arranged in a petiole and a leaf blade. The pinnate leaf blade is fingered in three parts. The three gray-green leaflets are relatively narrow. The stipules are tapered from a lance-shaped basic long subulate. The petiole is often hidden between the stipules.

The hare clover can be easily distinguished from the other clover species by the pink-red, hairy, head-shaped inflorescences. The flowering period is from June to July. The long-stemmed, head-shaped inflorescences of the hare-clover are about 1 cm wide and 1 to 2 cm high. The flowers are sessile. The hermaphrodite flowers are zygomorphic and five-fold with a double flower envelope . The five sepals are fused to form a 5 to 7 mm long, long shaggy hairy and reddish calyx. The five petals are not all fused, they are initially white, later pale pink. The corolla has the typical shape of the butterfly flower and is shorter or at most as long as the calyx. This creates the characteristic pink-red and shaggy appearance of the flower heads. Nine of the ten stamens have grown together.

The legume , 1 to 1.5 mm long and 0.5 to 1 mm wide, does not crack open much and contains only one or two seeds.

The number of chromosomes is 2n = 14.


The hare clover is a therophyte . It is rooted up to 40 centimeters deep.

From an ecological point of view, these are nectar-bearing butterfly flowers with a folding mechanism. The pollination is done by bees and bumblebees , rarely by butterflies , sand wasps and flies ; spontaneous self-pollination is also successful.

Diaspores (unit of spread) are initially the legumes encased in the conspicuously feathery hairy calyxes; these serve as a flight organ and are pronounced coppers. Since the hair performs hygroscopic movements, adhesion spreading is also possible. Later the seeds are released and so continue to spread.


The hare clover is a European-West Asian floral element . It occurs almost all over Europe and around the Mediterranean . The area of the hare clover stretches from northwestern Africa in the south to Great Britain and Scandinavia in the north; to the east, its distribution area extends to southern Russia , western Siberia , and northern Iran . The hare clover is a neophyte in large parts of the world .

It is absent in the Central European low mountain ranges with calcareous rock, in the higher low mountain ranges, in the Alpine foothills and in the Alps above 1000 meters in areas; otherwise it occurs scattered in Central Europe . It thrives in Central Europe in areas with a relatively mild climate.

In Central Europe, the hare-clover quite often inhabits gappy grasslands, sand fields and rock heads, roadsides, sand paths and dams, in fallow land and fields (for example root crops). The hare-clover thrives best on loose soil poor in fine soil, fairly dry, poor in lime and therefore somewhat to moderately acidic, raw, sandy or stony-gritty soils .

After Ellenberg it is a light plant, a Trockniszeiger, nitrogen-poorest locations indicating and Central Europe a class characteristic species loose sandy and rocky grasslands (Sedo-Scleranthetea). But it also occurs in societies of the Aperion association or in incomplete societies of the Festuco-Brometea class, but in the Mediterranean region it is a species of the order Helianthemetalia guttati.


Trifolium arvense was first published in 1753 by Carl von Linné in Species Plantarum , 2, p. 769.

Trifolium arvense belongs to the sub-section Arvensia from the section Trifolium in the genus Trifolium .

Origin of name and use

The name hare clover (or hare clover), formerly also called λαγώπποους in Latin and Leporis pes ("hare's foot") in Latin, is intended to express that this type of plant is not suitable as a fodder for livestock , but "only for rabbits ". In fact, cows disdain the hard and bitter stems. The hare clover contains tannins and is avoided by farm animals because of the hard and bitter stems (low feed value). It is popularly referred to as a field clover, cat's clover and mouse clover, as well as, because of its anti-diarrhea effect, as a “stuffing ass”.

The hare clover is also used as a medicinal plant. Because of its tannins , it should not be consumed in large quantities. In antiquity and the Middle Ages, Leporis pes was used "to loosen the stomach" and ( Ad profluvium mulierus ) to induce menstrual bleeding.

The hare clover is recommended for dry bouquets, as the calyx hairs give the flower heads a decorative, kitten-like appearance. The hare clover is suitable as an ornamental plant for wild plant gardens on silicate soils .


Individual evidence

  1. Hasenklee, Trifolium arvense - Flowering plants - NatureGate. In: www.luontoportti.com. Retrieved October 16, 2016 .
  2. a b c Erich Oberdorfer : Plant-sociological excursion flora for Germany and neighboring areas . With the collaboration of Angelika Schwabe and Theo Müller. 8th, heavily revised and expanded edition. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart (Hohenheim) 2001, ISBN 3-8001-3131-5 , pp.  595 .
  3. ^ Oskar Sebald, Siegmund Seybold, Georg Philippi (ed.): The fern and flowering plants of Baden-Württemberg. Volume 3: Special part (Spermatophyta, subclass Rosidae): Droseraceae to Fabaceae. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart 1992, ISBN 3-8001-3314-8 .
  4. a b c d e f Dietmar Aichele, Heinz-Werner Schwegler: The flowering plants of Central Europe . 2nd Edition. tape 2 : Yew family to butterfly family . Franckh-Kosmos, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 3-440-08048-X .
  5. First publication scanned at biodiversitylibrary.org .
  6. Hans Zotter : Ancient medicine. The collective medical manuscript Cod. Vindobonensis 93 in Latin and German. Academic printing and Verlagsanstalt, Graz 1980 (= Interpretationes ad codices. Volume 2); 2nd, improved edition, ibid. 1986, ISBN 3-201-01310-2 , pp. 130 f. (on the Leporis pes plant ).
  7. a b herbal dictionary .
  8. Hans Zotter: Ancient medicine. The collective medical manuscript Cod. Vindobonensis 93 in Latin and German. 1986, p. 130 f.


  • Henning Haeupler, Thomas Muer: picture atlas of the fern and flowering plants of Germany . Ed .: Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (=  The fern and flowering plants of Germany . Volume 2 ). Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart (Hohenheim) 2000, ISBN 3-8001-3364-4 .
  • Wolfgang Adler, Karl Oswald, Raimund Fischer: Excursion flora of Austria . Ed .: Manfred A. Fischer. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart / Vienna 1994, ISBN 3-8001-3461-6 .
  • Christian Heitz: School and excursion flora for Switzerland. Taking into account the border areas. Identification book for wild growing vascular plants . Founded by August Binz. 18th completely revised and expanded edition. Schwabe & Co., Basel 1986, ISBN 3-7965-0832-4 .
  • Erich Oberdorfer : Plant-sociological excursion flora . With the collaboration of Theo Müller. 6th, revised and expanded edition. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart (Hohenheim) 1990, ISBN 3-8001-3454-3 .
  • Konrad von Weihe (ed.): Illustrated flora. Germany and neighboring areas. Vascular cryptogams and flowering plants . Founded by August Garcke. 23rd edition. Paul Parey, Berlin / Hamburg 1972, ISBN 3-489-68034-0 .
  • Ruprecht Düll , Herfried Kutzelnigg : Pocket dictionary of plants in Germany and neighboring countries. The most common Central European species in portrait . 7th, corrected and enlarged edition. Quelle & Meyer, Wiebelsheim 2011, ISBN 978-3-494-01424-1 .

Web links

Commons : Hasen-Klee ( Trifolium arvense )  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files