White clover (Trifolium repens) is not just an ordinary weed

White clover

Most of us pass this plant without realizing its true value. We think it is a weed, just a part of nature. Perhaps you remember when we were children and looked for the precious four-leaf clovers and believed it will bring us luck. White clover is very abundant in Central Europe. You see it every time you go out on a hiking trip. It is hard to miss. It has spherical white (or white to pink) flowers and trefoil shaped leaves.

Edible parts of clover

You can use clovers for hot and cold foods. All parts are edible. But collect leaves before the plant blooms and use them raw in salads or sprinkle them over soups (as parsley). Cooked leaves are used for similar purposes as spinach. Dried leaves have a mild vanilla flavour, so they are even used to make cakes. Roots may be used too but they must be boiled. Flowers and seed pods are used to add nutrients to foods as they do not alter the taste of the original dish. The most common use is to dry it and crush it to make a powder and then sprinkle it on already cooked foods. Dried flowers are also used to make tea and fresh flowers are usually added to salads.

White clover Photo: Pixabay

Possible risks

This plant is known to cause problems to grazing animals, although we are not aware of any “real” problems. This problem may be related to the climate where the plant grows. The species is polymorphic for cyanogenic glycosides. The leaves and flowers of certain cyanogenic phenotypes contain a glycoside that releases cyanide upon contact with linamarase enzyme.

White clover

Photo: Pixabay

Health benefits

White clover is also used for its medicinal properties, mainly for to blood cleansing. A tea made from flowers can be used as eyewash liquid and tincture from leaves is used as a ointment against gout . Tea is also used to reduce fever and to fight colds. Flowers are used to fight arthritis, rheumatism and diarrhoea. Clover is also known for analgesic properties.

Photo: Pixabay

Radek Štěpán

Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.

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