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Clover, Kenya white
(Trifolium semipilosum)

Kenya - illustration
  • most tropical of clovers
  • not for acid soils
  • highly specific rhizobium
  • erratic performance.

1. Flowering plant
2. Flower
3. Fruit.

Kenya white clover cv. Safari has many similarities to white clover, but is more drought resistant, giving it better growth in the summer and autumn. It recovers quickly after frosting. Safari flowers in May and October in southeast Queensland.

Safari forms a strong tap root, and also forms roots from the nodes of the creeping stems. Unlike white clover, Safari can send up stems from the crown and rooting nodes; this makes it easier to manage than white clover as the pasture does not need to be grazed down to maintain an acceptable legume content. About 30% of the plants have a broad white mark along the mid-rib of the leaflets.

Seed of Safari needs to be scarified, and must be inoculated with its own highly specific rhizobium. It is fairly slow to establish despite the seed being about twice the size of white clover. Sometimes poor early growth is associated with rugose leaf curl virus, which causes stunting and reddening of the leaves.

Unfortunately production in the field has been highly erratic, and Safari has lost favour. Stands have also been affected by alfalfa mosaic virus on the Atherton Tableland.

Creator: Ian Partridge
Date created: 14 April 1998  Revised: 15 January 2003

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