Scientific name(s)
Plant description
Pasture type and use
Where it grows
Animal production
Further information
Author and date
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Persian clover (ssp. majus)

Scientific name(s)

Trifolium resupinatum L. var. majus Boiss.



Plant description

Plant:  Erect, annual. Up to 750 mm height

Stems: Up to 35 mm diameter, hollow, soft 

Leaves: trifoliate, up to 25 mm long, plain, strongly veined, oval-shaped  leaflets with serrated margins

Flowers: pink-violet flowers.  Many-flowered cluster and mature in axillary, white, spherical, woolly seedheads to 15 mm diameter on long stalks

Pods:  membranous, dehiscing at thickened sutures; one seeded

Seeds:  ~1 mm long, ovoid, various colours (brown, olive, purple); ~1.5 million/kg

Pasture type and use

A winter-growing, annual capable of excellent winter and spring growth.  Suited to seasonal irrigation. A valuable fodder crop.

Where it grows


> 500 mm in winter/spring rainfall zone for dryland use.  Also used with irrigation.  Tolerates water with up to 1500 S/cm on low salinity soils with adequate drainage.


Suited to clay soils, pH 5.5-8.5 (CaCl2).  Tolerant of severe water-logging and mildly saline soil.


Good heat tolerance.  Quite tolerant of frost and cold but slow growing at low temperatures.


Companion species

Grasses:  Italian ryegrass

Legumesbalansa clover, arrowleaf clover

Sowing/planting rates as single species

5-10 kg/ha; broadcast onto a finely worked, weed free seed bed and cover lightly by a roller or drill seed at 5 mm depth into a clean, finely worked seedbed.  High seed rate boosts winter yield and reduces weed invasion.

Sowing/planting rates in mixtures

3-7 kg/ha

Sowing time

February (if irrigating) to April


Group O


Apply ~20-30 kg P/ha annually and correct any nutrient deficiencies, especially K, Mo, Cu, S.


Maintenance fertliser

For optimum growth Olsen soil P (0-10 cm depth) > 15


Suited to winter grazing. Set residues at 2-3 cm (winter) and 4-5 cm (spring) to avoid over grazing. Rotationally graze during the cool season when 15-20 cm tall; this stimulates tillering.  If sown with grass must graze late winter/early spring to allow clover to contribute later.

Suited to hay/silage production; most valuable aftermath. Stems are nutritious but slow to dry; use conditioner to speed up drying.  Fast regrowth facilitates second cut; remove bales promptly - hay quite susceptible to rain damage

Seed production

Free seeding; some self pollination occurs; bees required to maximise seed yield. Yields  0.8-1.8 t seed/ha.

Ability to spread

Poor recruitment; most cultivars produce little hard seed.

Weed potential

Low.  Seed very susceptible to sprouting in the head and to false breaks.

Major pests

Red legged earthmite and lucerne flea need to be identified and controlled rapidly during establishment.

Major diseases

Some cultivars susceptible to leaf and stem rust (Uromyces trifolii-repentis) and clover rot (Scherotinia trifoliorum)

Herbicide susceptibility

Glyphosate.  Damaged by many broad-leaf herbicides.

Animal production

Feeding value

High (high soluble carbohydrate, high protein content & low NDF content).  Retains excellent feeding value as dry standing hay during dry weather.



Production potential

Good winter, spring, summer

Livestock disorders/toxicity

Low isoflavone content - no risk to breeding livestock.
Low risk of bloat.  Can be associated with photosensitization


Maturity Group Cultivar Seed source/Information
Early Flash Seed Genetics Australia
Mid Lusa Agriculture Victoria Services Pty Ltd, Melbourne
  Lightning PlantTech
Mid-late Storm Stephen Pasture Seeds
  Morbulk PlantTech
Late Maral Seedmark
  Laser PlantTech
  RD 8 Seed Genetics Australia
  Leeton AusWest Seeds
Enrich Specialty Seeds
Turbo AusWest Seeds
Ballard Seeds
Turbo Plus Belair Technology Pty Ltd, South Australia
            Anchor Rich River Seeds

 Denotes that this variety is protected by Plant Breeder's Rights Australia

Further information

Irrigated Winter Forages in Northern Victoria - Mnaging Persian Clover (Vic DPI)

FAO - Trifolium resupinatum L.

Australian Herbage Plant Cultivars


Departments of Agriculture, Seed companies

Author and date

KFM Reed

March 2009