Summer flower 7: White clover

Zachary Huang, Michigan State University

Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Trifolium
Species: T. repens
Common names: Dutch clover, Ladino clover, or Ladino
ZBAS*: 8

If one asks me what is the most important bee plant in Michigan, I would have to answer that it is this plant. My estimate would be that this plant contributes 40-50% of the total honey production in Michigan.  It grows everywhere, from roadside to lawns in the yards. It blooms for a long time during the summer. It adds nitrogen to your soil because it is a legume. Legumes have nitrogen fixing bacteria in their root nodules to help this feat. The plant is in my front lawn and I try not to mow it until the flowers were done (withered and darken), then they will bloom again shortly after being mowed.

Video shot using my cell phone July 12, 2020.

1. This shows how many flowers can be produced on a lawn. I shot it near Miami, Ohio, June 7, 2014.

2. June 13, 2018. I shot this using my cell phone at the MSU campus. Almost as good as the big camera!

3. June 8, 2006. Virginia, USA

4. Shot in Australia, March 1, 2009.

5. March 25, 2007, Nepal. Apis cerana (the Asian hive bee) foraging on white clover.

6. May 19, 2009. Nanchang, Jiangxi, China. Apis cerana foraging on white clover.

7. June 7, 2003, I shot this one using my older point and shoot camera (Nikon Coolpix 990, 3.2 Megapix). On the cover of American Bee Journal July 2006.

By now you can see that the flowers are everywhere I traveled. I just did not have time to find ones from Canada and other parts of China. Plant this flower if you have place…

ZBAS*: Zach’s bee attractiveness scale, this is not supposed to be scientific but just based on my many years of observation and bee-shooting with my cameras. It might vary with location and season.

0: bees will never visit. 10: bees are crazy for it.

Update: I added a video link in the front, I also move it to the summer section, because even though it starts in spring, most of the time its honey production is during the summer (late June and July, August if enough rain to keep it going).

Posted June 6, 2018
Updated July 21, 2020.

Author: Zachary Huang

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