Trifolium aureum Pollich
Trifolium agrarium L. nom. utique rej.
Trifolium agrarium L. p.p.
Hop clover, large hop clover, large hop trefoil, golden clover
Hop clover is a native of central and southern Europe, now well established in North America. The common name signifies the resemblance of this clover to hops.
Identification: Trifolium (“three-leaved”) is a large genus, and three common yellow hop clovers are compared below. Black medic, a relative, looks closely similar to low hop clover, so this is included too.
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|Plant||Plants 6-18" (15-45 cm) high.||Up to 16" (40 cm) tall, sometimes erect, sometimes growing along the ground||2-6" (5-15 cm) tall, often forming mats.|
|Leaves||petiole). Leaflets about ¾" (1.9 cm) long, ¼" (6.3 mm) wide.||petiole) than with other hop clovers, often notched at the top|
|Stem||Multiply branched, usually erect||Green or reddish green, multiply branched||Green or reddish, multiply branched.|
|Habitats||Grasslands, fields, roadsides, wastelands||Temperate grasslands, fields, roadsides, wastelands, cultivated fields||Disturbed soil, meadows, common in lawns.|
Rounded, about ¼-½" (6.3-12 mm)
Three leaves, with slightly serrated tips, center leaf on separate petiole
Seedpods are “coiled”—this is probably the most unique feature of black medic
Edibility: With most clovers, flower heads (and possibly leaves) may be juiced or boiled and eaten. Dried flower heads and seed pods are also edible. However, I could not find specific edibility information for hop clover, nor could I for the similar-appearing plant black medic (Medicago lupulina).
Trifolium aureum at Illinois Wildflowers
Trifolium aureum on WikiBooks.org
Trifolium aureum on the USDA Plants Database
Trifolium aureum at Minnesota Wildflowers
Trifolium aureum on Delaware Wildflowers
Trifolium aureum on Wikimedia Commons
Trifolium aureum on eFloras
Trifolium aureum from the Jepson Manual
Newcomb, Lawrence, Morrison, Gordon (Illus.), Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, Little, Brown and Company, 1977, p. 58
Peterson, Roger Tory, McKenny, Margaret, Peterson Field Guides: A Field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and North Central North America, Houghton Mifflin, 1968, p. 150
1See Wikipedia article
Trifolium aureum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.