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Vascular Plants of California
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Trifolium variegatum var. variegatum

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to tree. Leaf: generally alternate, generally compound, generally stipuled, generally entire, pinnately veined Inflorescence: generally raceme, spike, umbel or head; or flowers 1--few in axils. Flower: generally bisexual, generally bilateral; hypanthium 0 or flat to tubular; sepals generally 5, generally fused; petals generally 5, free, fused, or lower 2 +- united into keel (see 3, Key to Groups, for banner, wings); stamens 10 or many (or [1], 5, 6, 7, 9), free or fused or 10 with 9 filaments at least partly fused, 1 (uppermost) free; pistil 1, ovary superior, generally 1-chambered, ovules 1--many, style, stigma 1. Fruit: legume, including a stalk-like base (above receptacle) or not. Seed: 1--many, often +- reniform, generally hard, smooth.
Genera In Family: +- 730 genera, 19400 species: worldwide; with grasses, requisite in agriculture, most natural ecosystems. Many cultivated, most importantly Arachis, peanut; Glycine, soybean; Phaseolus, beans; Medicago, alfalfa; Trifolium, clovers; many orns. Note: Unless stated otherwise, fruit length including stalk-like base, number of 2° leaflets is per 1° leaflet. Upper suture of fruit adaxial, lower abaxial. Anthyllis vulneraria L. evidently a waif, a contaminant of legume seed from Europe. Laburnum anagyroides Medik., collected on Mount St. Helena in 1987, may be naturalized. Ceratonia siliqua L., carob tree (Group 2), differs from Gleditsia triacanthos L. in having evergreen (vs deciduous) leaves that are 1-pinnate (vs 1-pinnate on spurs on old stems, 2-pinnate on new stems) with 2--5(8) (vs 7--17) 1° leaflets, commonly cultivated, now naturalized in southern California. Aeschynomene rudis Benth. , Halimodendron halodendron (Pall.) Voss (possibly extirpated), Lens culinaris Medik. are agricultural weeds. Caragana arborescens Lam. only cult. Ononis alopecuroides L. , Sphaerophysa salsula (Pall.) DC. all evidently extirpated. Cercidium moved to Parkinsonia; Chamaecytisus to Cytisus; Psoralidium lanceolatum to Ladeania.
eFlora Treatment Author: Martin F. Wojciechowski, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Martin F. Wojciechowski, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: TrifoliumView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: CLOVER
Habit: Annual, perennial herb, unarmed. Leaf: generally palmately compound; stipules conspicuous, partly fused to petiole, generally papery or membranous; leaflets generally 3, occasionally 5--9, +- toothed or wavy. Inflorescence: raceme (generally umbel-like), head, or spike, axillary or terminal, generally many-flowered, generally involucred, generally peduncled; inflorescence bracts 0 or forming vestigial ring or involucre; flower bracts present or not. Flower: generally spreading to erect, generally becoming reflexed; corolla generally purple to pale lavender, occasionally yellow, persistent after flower; 9 filaments fused, 1 free. Fruit: generally indehiscent but generally breaking, short, plump, generally enclosed in corolla; base generally stalk-like. Seed: 1--6.
Species In Genus: +- 300 species: temps, tropical mountains, northern hemisphere, South America, Africa; foodplant for lepidopterans, cultivated as green manure in crop rotation, fodder. Etymology: (Latin: 3 leaves)
eFlora Treatment Author: Michael A. Vincent & Duane Isely
Reference: Ellison et al. 2006 Molec Phylogen Evol 39:688--705; Vincent 2009 Madroño 56:208
Unabridged Reference: Gillett 1980 Canad J Bot 58:1425--1448; Zohary & Heller 1984 Genus Trifolium
Species: Trifolium variegatumView Description 

Habit: Annual, possibly short-lived perennial herb, generally +- glabrous. Stem: prostrate to erect, wiry to fleshy. Leaf: cauline; lower stipules generally entire, upper deeply cut; leaflets generally obovate or wedge-shaped, occasionally narrower. Inflorescence: head-like, included or exserted from leaves, 0.5--2.5 cm wide, 1--many-flowered; involucre wheel-shaped, generally well developed. Flower: calyx 3--10 mm, bell-shaped, tube 10--many-veined, lobes all or some generally > tube, entire or toothed, bristle-tipped; corolla 3.5--16 mm, lavender to purple, tips generally white. Fruit: stalk-like base short or 0. Seed: 1--2. Chromosomes: 2n=16.
Note: Most variable of California clovers; +- 30 entities named but intergrading without clear delimitations; most conspicuous California entities treated as varieties below; keel shape seems taxonomically insignificant; molecular research needed.
Trifolium variegatum Nutt. var. variegatum
Habit: Annual, small to robust. Stem: prostrate to erect, occasionally mat- or tangle-forming, 0.3--5 dm. Inflorescence: 1--1.5 cm wide, 5--10-flowered. Flower: calyx 4--8 mm; corolla 6--10 mm.
Ecology: Open generally moist fields, wet forest meadows, roadsides; Elevation: 0--2500 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA-FP, SNE; Distribution Outside California: sporadic to British Columbia, Montana, Colorado, Arizona, Baja California. Flowering Time: Apr--Jun Note: Generally considered typical; intergrading with Trifolium variegatum var. major.
Synonyms: Trifolium appendiculatum Lojac. var. rostratum (Greene) Jeps.; Trifolium pauciflorum Nutt.; Trifolium variegatum var. trilobatum (Jeps.) McDermott; Trifolium variegatum phases 1,3 in TJM (1993)
Jepson eFlora Author: Michael A. Vincent & Duane Isely
Reference: Ellison et al. 2006 Molec Phylogen Evol 39:688--705; Vincent 2009 Madroño 56:208
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Trifolium variegatum var. variegatum

botanical illustration including Trifolium variegatum var. variegatum


Citation for this treatment: Michael A. Vincent & Duane Isely 2012, Trifolium variegatum var. variegatum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 25, 2021.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2021, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 25, 2021.

Trifolium variegatum var. variegatum
click for enlargement
© 2011 Dylan Neubauer
Trifolium variegatum var. variegatum
click for enlargement
© 2008 Keir Morse
Trifolium variegatum var. variegatum
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse
Trifolium variegatum var. variegatum
click for enlargement
© 2008 Keir Morse
Trifolium variegatum var. variegatum
click for enlargement
© 2008 Keir Morse

More photos of Trifolium variegatum var. variegatum in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Trifolium variegatum var. variegatum:
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


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Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
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All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).