Trifolium aureum (Golden Clover)

Plant Info
Also known as: Palmate Hop Clover, Yellow Hop Clover
Family:Fabaceae (Pea)
Life cycle:annual, biennial
  • Weedy
Habitat:part shade, sun; fields, waste areas, roadsides
Bloom season:May - September
Plant height:6 to 18 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular Cluster type: round

[photo of flowers] A single round to oval flower head on a ½ to 2-inch stalk arising from a leaf axil. Heads are ½ to ¾ inch long, densely packed with tiny yellow pea-shaped flowers that turn a creamy color then rusty brown before going to seed, giving plants a somewhat calico appearance. A plant has numerous flowers on branching stems.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: compound Leaf type: palmate

[photo of leaves] Leaves are palmately compound in 3s, on a short stalk. Leaflets are ½ to ¾ inch long, finely toothed except near the base, rounded at the tip, tapering at the base, and all stalkless. A pair of leafy appendages (stipules) at the leaf joint are oval-lance shaped and about as long as the leaf stalk. Stems are smooth or with fine flattened hairs; growth is semi-erect with branches spreading laterally.


Like many foreign introductions to Minnesota, Golden Clover may have been first introduced in the Port of Duluth. Now very common along the northshore drive in St. Louis county, it is also becoming more common along transportation corridors into east central parts of the state. It is very similar in appearance to Low Hop Clover (Trifolium campestre), a shorter stature plant that has a very distinct stalk on the middle leaflet.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Wild River State Park, Chisago County, and in Cass County. Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in St. Louis and Cass counties.


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