Alsike Clover (Hybridum)

The Alsike Clover (Hybridum) is generally described as a perennial forb/herb. This is not native to the U.S. (United States) and has its most active growth period in the spring and summer . The Alsike Clover (Hybridum) has green foliage and inconspicuous white flowers, with an abuncance of conspicuous brown fruits or seeds. The greatest bloom is usually observed in the late spring, with fruit and seed production starting in the summer and continuing until summer. Leaves are not retained year to year. The Alsike Clover (Hybridum) has a short life span relative to most other plant species and a rapid growth rate. At maturity, the typical Alsike Clover (Hybridum) will reach up to 2 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of 0 inches.

The Alsike Clover (Hybridum) is easily found in nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors. It can be propagated by seed. It has a slow ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have medium vigor. Note that cold stratification is not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below -38°F. has low tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Alsike clover is used for hay, pasture, and soil improvement, and is preferred where wetter or acid soils are encountered. It is generally out produced by other clover species for particular uses. Note: alsike clover can be toxic to horses under some conditions.

General Characteristics

Alsike clover has smooth stems and leaves, reaching a height of 2-4 feet. This introduced plant tends to recline or lodge unless companion plants hold the stem upright. The flowers are pink to white, and are borne along the length of the stem. The flower heads are much smaller than red clover, and the stems do not terminate in a flower as they do in red clover.

Required Growing Conditions

Alsike is best adapted to the cool climate of the Northeast. It will tolerate wetter soils better than other clovers, and also acid conditions. It prefers silty clay loams, and does not tolerate droughty sites.

Alsike clover is distributed throughout the United States.

Cultivation and Care

Alsike clover is always seeded with grass, or can be overseeded into grass in the spring. For conventional plantings, spring and fall seedings will work. Alsike seed should always be inoculated due to the infrequent use of the species. Plant alsike at 2-4 pounds per acre, at a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Pre-plant fertilize according to soil test.

General Upkeep and Control

Pasture management varies depending upon the forages in use, but should be based upon the grasses involved since they are the “meat and potatoes” of the mix. High rates of nitrogen fertilizer will damage the alsike component. In hayfields, cutting below 2 inches will damage the stand.

Animal management note: on pasture high in alsike clover content, take steps to introduce animals gradually to the forage or risk of bloat can be high. Horses have done poorly on pastures that have significant alsike components.

Pests and Potential Problems Unknown.

Cultivars, Improved, and Selected Materials (and area of origin) Common seed is available from commercial seed sources.

Plant Basics
Growth Rate Rapid
General Type Forb/herb
Growth Period Spring, Summer
Growth Duration Annual, Perennial
Lifespan Short
Plant Nativity Introduced to U.S.
Commercial Availability Routinely Available
Physical Characteristics
Bloom Period Late Spring
Displays Fall Colors No
Shape/Growth Form Single Crown
Drought Tolerance Low
Shade Tolerance Intolerant
Height When Mature 2
Vegetative Spread None
Flower Color White
Flower Conspicuousness Yes
Fruit/Seed Abundance High
Fruit/Seed Seasonality Summer Summer
Seed Spread Rate Slow
Gardening Characteristics
Propagations (Ways to Grow) Seed
Moisture Requirements High
Cold Stratification Required No
Minimum Temperature -38
Soil Depth for Roots 12
Toxic to Nearby Plants No
Toxic to Livestock No
After-Harvest Regrowth Rate Moderate
After-Harvest Resprout Ability No
Responds to Coppicing No
Growth Requirements
pH Range 5.6–7.5 pH
Precipitation Range 26–26 inches/yr
Planting Density 0–0 indiv./acre
Soil Textures Fine, Medium
Soil Depth for Roots 12
Minimum Frost-Free Days 50 day(s)
Salinity Tolerance Low
CaCO3 Tolerance Medium
Sustainability & Use
Leaf Retention No
Palatability High
Fire Resistant No
Causes Livestock Bloating High

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database,
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA