Purple clover


Purple clover (Trifolium purpureum) is a self-regenerating annual legume which originated in Eurasia and is naturalised in countries of this region that have temperate and Mediterranean climates. It germinates in autumn and grows rapidly in mid to late spring. Purple clover continues to produce green feed into late spring and early summer and has considerable potential as a pasture species and for forage conservation on a wide range of soils.

The ability to grow for an extended period in late spring and early summer allows purple clover to potentially enhance animal production at the time of year when animals are usually beginning to graze lower quality pasture residues. Its high herbage production and upright growth habit also make it well suited to silage and hay production. As it is an aerial seeding legume, purple clover seed can be harvested using a conventional header.

This Primefact includes information on the following aspects of purple clover:

  • Adaptation
  • Description
  • Varieties
  • Establishment and management
  • Herbage production and nutritional quality


Primefact 221

Published: Nov 2001