Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Golden Hop Clover - Trifolium aureum   Pollich
Members of Fabaceae:
Members of Trifolium with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Fabales » Family Fabaceae
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DistributionMostly in the Mountains, scattered in the Piedmont and northern Coastal Plain. Absent from a large portion of central and southeastern NC. The Dare County specimen came from the bombing range on the mainland.

Native of Eurasia; in N.A. mostly southern Canada, nw. and ne. U.S.
AbundanceInfrequent to frequent in the Mountains, rare elsewhere.
HabitatMostly moist soil of meadows, fields, clearings, thickets, open woodlands, streamsides, roadsides.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting May-September.
IdentificationGolden Hop Clover is our showiest hop clover, as it has the largest heads and largest individual flowers. In addition, its leaflets are essentially sessile (vs. short-stalked in our other 2 hop clovers -- T. campestre and T. dubium).
Taxonomic CommentsTrifolium is a large genus of some 240-250 species globally, mostly north-temperate zone. Most are readily recognized as a clover by their 3 broad leaflets and globular to hemispherical head of densely-packed flowers. Flowers vary from white to pink, and red; the hop clovers have tiny yellow flowers. Some species were introduced for their forage value for livestock, others hitched a ride with hay, packing material, etc. Our two native species -- T. carolinianum and T. reflexum -- have suffered great loss of habitat and are now rare.
Other Common Name(s)Large Hop Clover
State RankSE
Global RankGNR
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US Status
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B.A. SorrieRoadside near Visitors Center, Glacier NP, MT, July 2020. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC

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