Zigzag Clover - Trifolium medium

Alternative names
Zig-zag Clover

The stems are rather zig-zagged and the flowers large - 25 to 35 mm deep reddish purple.

Similar Species

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense). To distinguish from Red Clover, the free part of  Red Clover's stipules are narrowed to a bristle-like point whereas the free part of Zigzag's are more like an isosceles triangle.  Zigzag also has narrower leaflets which are less hairy.

Identification difficulty
ID guidance
  • 'zig-zag' stems
  • large, red flowers
  • narrow and less hairy leaves than Red Clover
  • stipules shaped like an isosceles triangle
Recording advice

A photograph of the plant, showing stipules


Grassland, roadside and railway verges and quarries, often on poor soil.

When to see it

May to July.

Life History

Rhizomatous perennial.

UK Status

Found throughout Britain, but scarce in East Anglia.

VC55 Status

Occasional in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 112 of the 617 tetrads.

In the current checklist (Jeeves 2011) it is listed as Native; occasional

be our species champion

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


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

UK Map