Alternative Lawns – Ground Cover Species
Dutch White Clover Trifolium repens
(non-native but naturalized throughout the US)
Overview: Low growing perennial herb that spreads by stolons.
Landscaping: Can serve as ground cover/an alternative to turf grass. Grows best in full sun to part shade and will easily grow in a wide variety of soil types. Clover complements turfgrass well by fixing nitrogen in the soil, which reduces fertilizer needs for turf.
Time to forage: Spring into Summer.
Identification: Low growing, creeping plant; bright green compound leaves formed of three leaflets; white flowers that bloom between May and September and are comprised of a cluster of fused white petals.
Where to find it: Found in a variety of areas as white clover is highly adaptable; can be found in natural wooded areas, meadows, and areas of high disturbance like roadsides and lawns.
Edible parts of plant: All above ground parts of the plant are edible include leaves, stems, and flowers; leaves can be eaten raw, cooked, or brewed into a tea.
Tips for foraging: Naturalized non-native plant that is widely abundant, harvest as much as you will use; can harvest whole plants or cuttings.
Ethnobotany: The Iroquois, Cherokee, and Mohegan people have used white clover for various medicinal purposes.
Importance to natural resources: Serves as a food source for many species of wildlife including deer, vole, and various types of birds; also used by various pollinators.
Nutritional value (per 100 grams): Provides 128% of Vitamin A and 203% of the daily requirement per 100 gram serving (about 3 cups).
Recipes: White Clover Iced Tea (From: https://www.growforagecookferment.com)
• 1 cup fresh blossoms or ½ cup dried
• 4 cups water
• Honey or maple syrup and lemon wedge
optional to taste
Put clover blossoms into a one quart jar, pour boiled water over blossoms and let seep for at least 30 minutes (or longer for stronger tea). Refrigerate.