Red clover is among the oldest species on the property, dating back to at least 1962 despite having been weeded, mowed and otherwise ignored.
As a child, I was fascinated by the white markings on its leaves, making it seem quite exotic for such a simple plant.
As I dutifully weeded the vegetable garden, side-by-side with my mom throughout my chilhood, I often wondered what would happen if I just let it grow.
In 2020 I found out. Between the pandemic and caretaking my now-elderly mom, I didn’t have time to plant (or weed) a full garden that year. The red clover, which always used to end up in the weed pile, grew to an exceptional size which delighted the bumblebees that visited the garden.
I vowed to never pull it up again and it is now a permanent resident of the vegetable garden.
And Now for the Science…
Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is one of the true clovers, a herbaceous species of flowering plant in the legume family. Native to Europe and Western Asia. Red clover is a good pollen and nectar source for bumblebees. It is a nitrogen-fixing plant and is often grown as a cover crop to improve soil fertility.
Sources: Wikipedia, Cornell University
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