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Hop clovers (like trifolium aureum) round out our few featured clover plants. We’ve covered red, then white and their hybrid alsike. The yellow clover is edible like its relations.
Large hop clover (trifolium aureum) is barely mentioned in my herbal library. Red and white clover are the popular clovers. Perhaps one reason is that the yellow hop clovers have more lookalikes. Black medick (medicago lupulina) gives me the most pause, and yellow wood sorrels (like oxalis stricta) could add to the confusion when not in flower. Pineapple weed has similar flowers, and of course hops does too, hence the name. A greater reason for its lack of popularity is probably the hop clovers low productivity and low yield.
There’s also hop trefoil (t. campestre) and lesser hop trefoil (t. dubium), which are just similar yellow clovers with similar properties.
Hop clover is common along roadsides, trails, dry open fields, and sometimes along streambanks. You don’t see it as much as red, white and their hybrid alsike, or in the same volume.
Edible Uses of Hop Clover
The leaves are edible raw, but may cause indigestion.
The flowers can be dried and put into tea mixes or finely ground into flour.
In autumn, the seeds can be collected and eaten raw or roasted. Like the dried flowers, they can also be ground into flour.
Medicinal Uses of Hop Clover
Hop Clover is primarily said to support these body systems:
Medicinal tags include X. See Medicinal tag key for more information.
Common usage includes… Well, it’s completely outshined by red clover for medicinal uses. And I have no idea if it contains the same phytoestrogens. I need a lab!
Growing Trifolium Aureum
Clover grows well on poor soil, but actually most native plants like “poor” soil. In rich soil, many native plants grow weak stems. Clovers are not native to Ontario but they tend to get an okay even in native plant groups, as they are better than nonnative monocultured/mown grass lawns. It’s also clear that bumble bees like them. Our white clover article goes deeper into this.
And the Usual Cautions:
1) Most medicinal herbs, if edible, are meant to be eaten in moderation, even sparingly. Some require extra preparation.
2) People can be allergic or sensitive to nearly any plant; try new herbs one at a time at your own risk.
3) For medicinal use, I must recommend receiving a diagnosis and working with a reputed health care provider. I generally do not post specific treatments and dosages because I think that is best between you and your health care provider, and ideally monitored.
4) Anyone pregnant, nursing, or taking prescription drugs should talk to a health care professional before adding new food items to their diet.
5) Many plants have look-a-likes, and sometimes they are poisonous.
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