Subterranean Clover - Trifolium subterraneum

    Description

    Low, hairy, prostrate plant. Leaves broadly heart shaped and variable in size. Flowers white or whitish, 8 to 14 mm in clusters at the base of leaves, with a mix of fertile and sterile florets. Uniquely, the flower heads bury themselves in the ground after flowering and as fruit ripens.

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

    A mix of sterile and fertile florets; sterile flowers are without corollae and are slender, rigid, palmately lobed calyces.  

    Recording advice

    The County Recorder has asked for a specimen of this plant to be retained for verification

    Habitat

    Dry grassy habitats, cliffs and rocky places with shallow soil, and preferring sandy or fine gravelly soils.

    When to see it

    May and June.

    Life History

    Annual.

    UK Status

    Local and often coastal, mainly in the southern half of Britain.

    VC55 Status

    Rare in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 3 of the 617 tetrads.

    In the current checklist (Jeeves 2011), it is listed as Native; free-draining sandy grassland; now apparently confined to the Soar Valley.

    It is on the Rare Plant Register

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map