Trifolium dubium Sibth. Suckling Clover
Fl.Oxon. 231 (1794)

Conservation Code: Not threatened
Naturalised Status: Alien to Western Australia
Name Status: Current

Brief Description
Grazyna Paczkowska, Wednesday 7 August 1996

Prostrate or decumbent annual, herb, to 0.2 m high. Fl. yellow, Aug to Dec. White sand, yellow-orange loam, brown gravelly clay, laterite. Road verges, track edges, settled areas.


Beard’s Provinces: South-West Province.

IBRA Regions: Avon Wheatbelt, Esperance Plains, Geraldton Sandplains, Jarrah Forest, Mallee, Swan Coastal Plain, Warren.

IBRA Subregions: Avon Wheatbelt P2, Dandaragan Plateau, Fitzgerald, Lesueur Sandplain, Northern Jarrah Forest, Perth, Southern Jarrah Forest, Warren, Western Mallee.

IMCRA Regions: Leeuwin-Naturaliste.

Local Government Areas (LGAs): Albany, Armadale, Augusta Margaret River, Bayswater, Beverley, Boyup Brook, Bridgetown-Greenbushes, Busselton, Canning, Claremont, Collie, Coorow, Cranbrook, Cuballing, Dandaragan, Dardanup, Denmark, Gingin, Gnowangerup, Gosnells, Harvey, Katanning, Kojonup, Kondinin, Manjimup, Melville, Mundaring, Murray, Nannup, Northam, Perth, Plantagenet, Rockingham, Serpentine-Jarrahdale, South Perth, Stirling, Subiaco, Swan, Waroona, Williams.

Management Notes (for the Swan NRM Region)
Kate Brown and Karen Bettink, Monday 26 August 2019

Alternative Names. Suckling Clover.

General Biology. Growth form. Herb. Life form. Annual. Reproduction. Seed. Dispersal. Agricultural activities.

Notes. Mainly germinates in autumn, grows through the winter then flowers in spring, produces seeds and dies off as the soil dries out in early summer. Has low germination rates in unsuitable environmental conditions. Flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female parts) and are bee-pollinated. Capable of fixing nitrogen. Trifolium species capable of high rates of nitrogen fixation may influence the abundance and growth of other plant species.

Additional information. Origin. Africa, temperate Asia, Europe. History of use/introduction. Forage. Similar exotic species. Trifolium campestre.

Suggested method of management and control. Spot spray with 1% glyphosate before flowering. Lontrel® 3 ml/10L (150 ml/ha) up to 6 leaf stage. However, best controlled in the seedling stage, as this species is more difficult to control once mature. 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            
Active Growth           Y Y Y Y Y Y    
Flowering               Y Y Y Y Y  
Fruiting                     U U  
Optimum Treatment           Y Y Y O O      

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



  • Ansari, H.A., Ellison, N.W. & Williams, W.M. (2008) Molecular and cytogenetic evidence for an allotetraploid origin of Trifolium dubium (Leguminosae). Chromosoma, 117 (2): 159-167.
  • 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.
  • Hackney, B., Dear, B. & Crocker, G. (2007) Primefact 651 August 2007: Naturalised pasture legumes. NSW Department of Primary Industries URL: - Accessed May 2010.
  • 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.
  • Plants for a future (Undated) Plant Database. Plants For A Future, England and Wales. URL: - Accessed April 2010.
  • Texas Invasive Plant & Pest Council (2007) Trifolium dubium, Suckling Clover. URL: - Accessed May 2010.
  • 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.

Project information and acknowledgements