Skip to main content

Trifolium resupinatum L.
Shaftal Clover

Sp.Pl. 2:771 (1753)
Conservation Code
Not threatened
Naturalised Status
Alien to Western Australia
Name Status

Erect or prostrate annual, herb, to 0.3 m high. Fl. pink-purple-white, Aug to Dec. Grey sand, grey-black sandy clay, black peat, gravelly loam, laterite, granite, limestone. Along rivers, dunes, track edges, road verges, disturbed ground, gardens.

Amanda Spooner, Descriptive Catalogue, 23 August 2007


IBRA Regions
Avon Wheatbelt, Jarrah Forest, Swan Coastal Plain, Warren.
IBRA Subregions
Dandaragan Plateau, Katanning, Perth, Southern Jarrah Forest, Warren.
IMCRA Regions
Central West Coast, Leeuwin-Naturaliste, WA South Coast.
Local Government Areas (LGAs)
Albany, Augusta Margaret River, Beverley, Busselton, Capel, Cockburn, Dandaragan, Denmark, Gingin, Gosnells, Manjimup, Nannup, Plantagenet, South Perth, Wanneroo.

Management Notes (for the Swan NRM Region)

Alternative Names. Persian Clover, Bird-eye Clover, Reversed Clover, Shaftal Clover.

General Biology. Growth form. Herb. Life form. Annual. Reproduction. Seed. Dispersal. Agricultural activities. Toxicity. Possibly poisonous to stock. Seedbank persistence. Short to medium term.

Notes. Has low germination rates in unsuitable environmental conditions. Produces mild allelochemicals, stubble is also allelopathic. Seven commercial varieties are available in Australia, these differ greatly in their adaptation to different environments. Several varieties are soft-seeded, have moderate tolerance of salinity and are capable of fixing nitrogen via the taproot and lateral roots. Trifolium species capable of high rates of nitrogen fixation may influence the abundance and growth of other plants species.

Additional information. Origin. Macronesia, north Africa, temperate and tropical Asia, Europe. History of use/introduction. Forage, soil improver. Similar exotic species. Trifolium species.

Suggested method of management and control. Prevent seed set for 5 years. Spot spray with 1% glyphosate before flowering. Otherwise spot spray with 4 g Lontrel®, 1 g Logran®, 0.1 g metsulfuron methyl (600 g/L) or 0.1 g Glean® in 10 L water + wetting agent when plants are actively growing. Repeat annually for several years. Read the manufacturers' labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. For further information consult the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to determine the status of permits for your situation or state.

Management Calendar

Calendar Type Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Comments
Germination         O Y Y Y O        
Active Growth         O Y Y Y Y Y Y    
Flowering               Y Y Y Y Y  
Fruiting                 O Y Y Y  
Optimum Treatment           Y Y Y          

Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.



  • Ates, E. & Tekeli, A.S. (2007) Salinity tolerance of Persian Clover (Trifolium resupinatum. Var. Majus Boiss.) lines at germination and seedling stage. World Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 3 (1): 71-79.
  • Brown, K. & Brooks, K. (2002) Bushland Weeds: A Practical Guide to their Management. Environmental Weeds Action Network, Greenwood.
  • Can, E., Celiktas, N., Hatipoglu, R. & Avci, S. (2009) Breaking seed dormancy of some annual Medicago and Trifolium species by different treatments. Turkish Journal of Field Crops, 14 (2): 72-78.
  • Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Dodd, J., Lloyd, S.G. & Cousens, R.D. (2007) Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. 2nd Edition. The Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Victoria Park.
  • Maighany, F., Khalghani, J., Baghestani, M.A. & Najafpour, M. (2007) Allelopathic potential of Trifolium resupinatum L. (Persian clover) and Trifolium alexandrium L. (Berseem clover). Weed Biology and Management, 7 (3): 178 - 183.
  • Moore, C.B. & Moore, J.H. (2002) Herbiguide, the pesticide expert on a disk. Herbiguide, PO Box 44 Albany, Western Australia, 6330.
  • Thomas, B.D. & Bowman, W.D. (1998) Influence of N2-fixing Trifolium on plant species composition in the alpine tundra. Oecologia, 115 (1/2): 26-31.
  • Tuttobene, R., Gresta, F., Sortino, O., Frasca Polara, F., Dipasquale, M. & Abbate, V. (2008) Characterization of native populations of Trifolium spp. Options Mediterraneennes, A (79): 395-398.
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program (2009) Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN). National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. URL: - Accessed October 2009.