12. Trifolium pratense Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 768. 1753.
红车轴草 hong che zhou cao
Perennial herbs, sparsely villous or glabrescent. Stems numerous from crown, erect or ascending, 20-70 cm, stout, striate. Leaves palmately 3-foliolate, basal and cauline, long petiolate in lower leaves, shortly petiolate in upper leaves; stipules ovate-lanceolate, membranous, base adnate to petiole, apex acuminate-subulate; leaflets ovate-elliptic or obovate, rarely elliptic, 1.5-3.5(-5) × 1-2 cm, lateral veins 15, base broadly cuneate, margins obscurely serrulate, apex obtuse, rarely retuse. Flowers 30-70, in dense globose or ovoid, terminal, sessile to shortly pedunculate heads, subtended by involucre of stipules of reduced leaves. Calyx slightly pubescent or glabrous, veins 10; teeth subulate, unequal, lower tooth ca. 2 × others. Corolla purple, rarely pink or white, 12-14(-18) mm; standard spatulate, apex rounded, retuse. Ovary elliptic. Legume ovoid. Seed 1, yellow or brown, ovoid. Fl. and fr. May-Sep.
Cultivated and naturalized; woodland margins, wet meadows, roadsides. Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Shandong, Taiwan, Xinjiang, Yunnan [native to N Africa, SW Asia, and Europe].