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How to Determine Crimson Clover Seed Maturity

By Sarah Metzker Erdemir ; Updated September 21, 2017

Crimson clover is a popular cover crop and green manure because it suppresses weeds, attracts bees and fixes nitrogen into the soil. It is also used as a nutritious forage crop for livestock. A field of crimson clover is stunning in bloom because of the long, deep-red flowers. Crimson clover seeds are relatively easy harvest because the shells are hard, which protects the seeds from damage from harvesting and threshing machinery.

Mark the time of flowering on your calendar and wait at least 30 days after this before you harvest the crimson clover seeds, because they need this time to mature after pollination.

Feel the plants’ stems and leaves with your fingers. As crimson clover matures, the soft hairs become hard and bristly.

Examine the length of the flowers. Crimson clover flowers can grow up to 2 inches long, depending on weather conditions. The flowers bloom from the bottom to the top and get pollinated as they open. The seeds are not likely to be mature until the entire flower has bloomed.

Check the plants for signs of fading. The foliage will change from green to brown and the flowers will lose color as fade to pinkish brown once the seeds have matured.

Open a bloomed-out flower to examine the seeds. Mature crimson clover seeds are light brown and oval shaped, with hard shells. Once most of the flowers in the field have faded, the seed is ready to harvest.