White Clover, a Sweet and Nutritious Edible Weed

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White clover (Trifolium repens)  Meadow
White clover (Trifolium repens) Meadow
(Photo by: Hideyuki Kamon/Wikimedia Commons)

White clover (Trifolium repens) is a low-growing perennial plant that’s native to Europe and Central Asia. It has been naturalized all over the world as a yard crop. Its most distinguishable features are its smooth, trifoliolate leaves and white flowers. Despite its inconspicuous appearance, apparently, this plant possesses some great culinary and medicinal uses.

Edibility and culinary use

All aerial parts of this plant are edible, including the stems, leaves, flowers, and seed pods. The leaves and flowers have a delicate, sweet taste. They can be used fresh right after harvesting or dried for later use. The most common way to consume the leaves and flowers is to brew them to make a sweet and relaxing tisane.

Then, fresh leaves also taste great in a salad, soup, and vegetable stir-fry while dried leaves can add a vanilla-like flavor to baked goods. Likewise, dried clover flowers are also great for adding flavor to baked goods as well as jelly and cool beverages. Fresh while clover flowers can also be used as an edible garnish in various dishes.

Additionally, you can use white clover as a substitute for red clover. While both plants don’t exactly have the same flavor, they’re similar enough to be used interchangeably. For example, dried white clover flowers and seed pods can be ground to make gluten-free flour, just like with red clover flowers.

Health benefits

White clover (Trifolium repens) with Four Leaflets
White clover (Trifolium repens) with Four Leaflets
(Photo by: Joe Papp/Wikimedia Commons)

Compared to its cousin, the red clover, white clover is less popular in the herbal medicine realm. It also has fewer health benefits. But, that doesn’t mean white clover is useless as a herbal remedy. To begin with, it contains a lot of essential vitamin and minerals, including vitamins A, B2, B3, C, and E as well as magnesium, potassium, chromium, and calcium. Due to its nutritional content, this herb is often used as a natural remedy in various communities around the world, including Turkish, Indian, and Native Americans.

A white clover infusion can be used to treat fever, coughs, and colds. It’s also good for treating common cold symptoms, such as upset stomachs, nausea, and dizziness. White clover herbal tea can treat rheumatic aches and arthritis. It can also be used as an eyewash to cure minor eye infections or applied on the skin to heal wounds, burns, ulcers, and sores.

Cultivation

White clover is becoming more and more popular among gardeners. It looks great as a grass alternative. It’s an excellent creeping ground cover; it’s easy to maintain, moderately drought-resistant, and requires no fertilizer. Then, as a nitrogen fixator, this plant can improve your garden’s soil fertility. It also helps other plants in your garden by attracting pollinators such as butterflies and bees. And of course, you get the added bonus of having a reliable and convenient source of food and medicinal herb.

White clover (Trifolium repens) with Blooming Flowers
White clover (Trifolium repens) with Blooming Flowers
(Photo by: Forest & Kim Starr/Wikimedia Commons)

You should be able to get white clover seeds online or from a local plant nursery. Choose a sunny location with moist, rich soil. Aerate the soil, water the area daily to moisten the soil, and remove any weeds that might hinder the clover’s growth. It’s recommended to starting sowing the seeds in spring or summer.

Sow the seeds evenly over the area and bury them under ¼” layer of soil. The seeds should start germinating in 10 to 15 days. Water the area daily to ensure optimum growth until the plants are well established. Do not fertilize these plants as doing so will kill them.

Cautions

White clover is generally safe to consume in moderation. However, due to its blood-thinning effect, it might increase the risk of bleeding. So, it’s best to stop consuming this herb at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery. This blood-thinning property might also interact with hypertension medications. Consult your doctor before including this herb in your diet.

Conclusion

Despite its humble appearance, there’s no denying that white clover is a very useful plant to have around. It’s not only good for your garden, but it’s also great for your health. Moreover, its lush green foliage will stay gorgeous all throughout the summer and sometimes, even winter as well. With white clover, you’ll have a beautiful garden all year round.


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Writen by Cornelia Tjandra
Cornelia is a freelance writer with a passion for bringing words to life and sharing useful information with the world. Her educational background in natural science and social issues has given her a broad base to approach various topics with ease. Learn more about her writing services on Upwork.com or contact her directly by email at cornelia.tjandra@gmail.com



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