Trifolium glanduliferum Boiss.

Gland Clover field flowering - Kiwi Seed Co (Marlb.) Ltd, NZ

Gland clover is an erect to semi-erect, extensively branched, very early maturing, self-regenerating annual legume species native to Turkey and Asia. Its leaflet margins contain glands, hence the name. Sown with other pasture species as a component of long-term pastures or in short-term cropping rotations. Provides high quality fodder for feeding livestock.

Soil Improvement (Green manure)
Soil Protection (Cover Crop)

Species Selection Characteristics

Annual Precipitation (inches): 
12 to 16
16 to 20
20 to 24
Plant Hardiness Zones (cold tolerance): 
Heat Zone (July Mean Max Temperature): 
77 to 80 °F
80 to 84 °F
Soil pH Tolerance: 
Very strongly acid, 4.5–7.3
Strongly acid, 5.1–7.3
Moderately acid, 5.6–7.3
Moderately acid to moderately alkaline, 5.6–8.4
Slightly acid to moderately alkaline, 6.1–8.4
Near neutral, 6.1–7.3
Soil Drainage Tolerance: 
somewhat poorly drained
moderately well drained
well drained
somewhat excessively drained
Flooding Tolerance: 
3-6 days
Soil Salinity Tolerance: 
Moderately tolerant, 3–6 dS/m

Identification Characteristics

Growth Season: 
Identification Characteristics: 

Gland clover is a herbaceous, annual plant, growing 16 to 20 inches (40-50 cm) tall.

Inflorescence is a clustered head of 30-50 flowers that change color with maturity; pinkish-white in early stages to a deeper pinkish-mauve color.

Trifoliolate leaves have finely toothed, smooth, hairless leaflets, 0.4-0.8 inches (1-2 cm) long, becoming more elongated as plants mature. Leaflet margins contain glands, giving the plant its common name.

Stipules are oval, serrated, and green-veined.

Stems are smooth and green, with some reddening on upper portions of stems and peduncle.

Branched taproots extend to 30 inches (75 cm).

Seed pods have 2-3 seeds, and each group of pods produces 130-140 seeds. Seeds are small, yellow, with oval shape. Approximately 650,000 seeds/lb (1,430,000/kg), similar to balansa clover.

Growth Habit and Stand Life

Erect to semi-erect, extensively branched growth habit 16-20 inches (40-50 cm) tall. Self-regenerating annual. 

Life Cycle: 
Winter annual

Climate and Soil Suitability Zones

Climate Tolerances: 

Tolerates light frosts of 25 oF (-4 oC). Use in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 8a-10b (average annual extreme minimum temperature of 10 oF (-12 oC). Heat tolerance to July mean maximum temperatures of 79-82 oF (26-28 oC). Native to Albania, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey, it is suitable for growing in Mediterranean climates with 14-24 inches (350-600 mm) annual rainfall.

Soil Tolerances: 

Grows well on a wide range of soil types with a pH of 4.5-8.0. Grows best on well-drained soils but will tolerate somewhat poorly drained soil. Moderate tolerance of salinity (3-5 dS/m). Requires at least a moderate level of soil fertility.

Quantitative Tolerances: 

Gland Clover Suitability Tolerance Values

Suitability Class

Jan Min (°C)*

July Max


Annual Precip (mm)**

Soil pH***

Soil Drainage 

Soil Salinity (dS/m)#








Moderately suited







Marginally suited







*Low temperature: USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 6b-10b

   Rooting: Roots to 30 inches (75 cm).

*** Soil pH: Strongly Acid to Moderately Alkaline: 4.5-8.0. 

† Soil drainage: Tolerates water-logged soils. Soil drainage class abbreviations: 1=VPD, very poorly drained; 2=PD, poorly drained; 3=SPD, somewhat poorly drained; 4=MWD, moderately well drained, 5=WD, well drained; 6=SED, somewhat excessively drained; 7=ED, excessively drained. Percent relative yield for gland clover for the classes 1-7: 5, 20, 50, 100, 100, 55, 20, respectively.

# Soil salinity: Mildly saline soils (3-5 dS/m)

Yield Potential and Production Profile

Establishment: Moderate to high hardseededness protects it from “false strikes.” Seed into a conventionally prepared seedbed, no deeper than 10 mm. If sowing in a mixture with other legumes and grasses, use 1.8-3.6 lb/ac (2-4 kg/ha). In pure stands, use 4.5-6.3 lb/ac (5-7 kg/ha). Inoculate with Type C rhizobia for successful nodulation. Apply P, S, and Mo fertilization as indicated from soil testing.

Grazing/cutting: Can be heavily grazed in winter. Reduce stocking rate at flowering time, particularly in the first year to allow the clover to set large amounts of seed building up a soil seed bank, which is necessary for regeneration in subsequent years.

Seed production Gland clover flowers spring to summer, and being an aerial seeding legume, can be harvested using a conventional header. Harvest seed when 75% of the stem is dry. Scarify on-farm seed prior to sowing, to improve first year germination.  Commercial seed yields of gland clover range from 180-625 lb/ac (200-700 kg/ha).


First commercial cultivar, Prima, was released in 2001. It is early maturing and has high resistance to mites (Halotydeus destructor) and to bluegreen (Acyrthosiphon kondoi) and cowpea (Aphis craccivora) aphids. It has small, hard seeds, preventing out-of-season germination.

Management Level Required

Suitable Management Level: 

Quality and Antiquality Factors

Quality Factors: 

Gland clover has high quality herbage which declines with maturity. In early spring, crude protein and digestibility are approximately 22% and 75%.

Anti-quality Factors: 

No livestock disorders have been reported but, as with many temperate legumes, could be expected to cause bloat in cattle.  Contains low levels of coumarins (lower than alfalfa) which can be converted to dicoumarol in moldy hay; do not feed moldy hay to livestock. No major diseases observed. Not susceptible to clover scorch disease that affects sub-clover. Resistant to red-legged earth mites, bluegreen aphids and cowpea aphids. Moderately susceptible to spotted alfalfa aphid and alfalfa flea.

Image Gallery



Hackney, Belinda, Brian Dear, and Graeme Sandral. 2007. Gland clover. Primefact 634. NSW Dept. Primary Industries. New South Wales.  Retrieved April 15, 2018.

Loi, Angelo. 2007. Gland Clover. Pastures Australia. W. Aust. Dept. Agric. Retrieved April 15, 2018.

Moot, Derrick. 2012. Dryland Pasture Research. Beef and Lamb Report.

Hackney, Belinda, Brian Dear, and Graeme Sandral. 2007. Gland clover. Primefact 634. NSW Dept. Primary Industries. New South Wales.  Retrieved April 15, 2018.

 Nair, Ramakrishnan M., David M. Peck, Trevor D. Rowe, Ian S. Dundas, and Kate Dowling. 2010. Breeding system in Trifolium glanduliferum (Fabaceae), New Zealand J. Agric. Res. 50(4): 451-456. DOI: 10.1080/00288230709510312