2014 Plants of the Month

April 2014 Plant of the Month

Photo by Vernon Smith
Two Marin Trifoliums
by Doreen Smith

In Marin the genus Trifolium is well represented: we have many species of both native and non-native clovers. Taxonomists continue to wrestle with the variability of the native clovers and the difficulty of erecting an accurate, phylogenetic classification.

The two taxa illustrated here are not on the State or Federal “rare lists,” but in Marin they are uncommon and found growing only in moist grassland at Pt. Reyes National Seashore. The Jepson Manual (2nd ed., 2012) does not even list a Marin occurrence of either the perennial Hansen’s long-stemmed clover (T. longipes ssp. hansenii) or the annual Gray’s clover (T. grayi), which was T. barbigerum var. andrewsii in the Jepson Manual 1st ed., 1993.

I don’t know how well these species will flower this year, but most years T. grayi can be found in the mowed verge of the access road to North Beach at the junction with Sir Francis Drake Blvd. (the road that leads to the lighthouse).

T. longipes grows on the Lunny “G“ Ranch, somewhat near the North District Operations Center.
Best not to go off trails without alerting the Seashore ranger staff (415.464.5100 x1) and/or the rancher who leases the grazing rights.

Trifolium longipes IMG 8580m Trifolium grayi IMG 8725m
Trifolium longipes ssp. hansenii (Hansen’s long-stemmed clover) Trifolium grayi (Gray’s clover)

Photos by Vernon Smith. Cllick on the images to see larger versions.


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