Trifolium willdenovii Sprengel

Tomcat Clover
Fabaceae (Pea Family)


Tomcat clover is a glabrous annual, 4" to 16" tall, and is erect to spreading along the ground.  The leaves are alternate with lanceolate to ovate, laciniate and bristle-tipped stipules, and are palmately trifoliate with linear to lance-oblong, finely-toothed leaflets. The flowers are in capitate heads to 3/4" wide with a flat involucre that is wheel-like and sharply lobed or dissected.  The flowers are papilionaceous and about 1/2" long. There is a shiny 5-toothed calyx unequally cleft, the calyx tube splits between the upper lobes, and the lobes are themselves sometimes bristle-tipped.  The corolla is lavender to purple, the banner paler toward the tip, and the wings dark.  There are nine united stamens and one free, and the fruit is a mostly 2-seeded pod.  Tomcat clover is fairly common in grasslands below 5000' but may be found in many plant communities both cismontane and near the desert edge, and also in disturbed areas and heavy, sometimes serpentine soils, blooming from March to June.  Formerly, it was named Trifolium tridentatum.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Trifolium 2) willdenovii.
Pronunciation: try-FO-lee-um wil-den-OH-vee-eye.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.


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