Imagine it’s late spring or early summer (just a few weeks from now). You are hiking out in the countryside, and come across a wide, open field of blossoms. Maybe an old farm field, one where the earth was disturbed a fair amount, and now is being slowly repaired by “invasives” and cover crops. The yellow heads of the Dandelions. Spikes of Nettles shooting skyward. The tiny, blue blossoms of Creeping Charlie. Clusters of white Garlic Mustard flowers.
Here is one place you might come across a bounty of Red Clover (Trifolium pratense). Loaded with calcium, potassium, magnesium, Vitamin C and so much more, this member of the legume family is often used as a cover crop to restore the soil. Red Clover is adaptable to a variety of environments. It fixes nitrogen in the soil, and protects the ground from erosion. As a short lived perennial, it’s easy to grow and its attractive, pinkish flowers make a great filler for large spaces. In addition, when it dies off, the remaining organic matter offers an additional round of soil building nutrients.
Medicinally, Red Clover has a variety of uses. For women it can offer general support for breast health, relief from symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, and it reduces menopausal hot flashes. In general use, it’s known for supporting blood circulation and overall artery health. Research also suggests that Red Clover may help prevent heart disease as well as certain types of cancers.
Take some time to learn more about this gem of a plant, and plan to visit it in the parks and fields this spring and summer. You’ll be glad you did.
Red Clover Sky by Donnie Nunley via Flickr Creative Commons. Some rights reserved.