These red clover blossoms seen recently in Wilton are different. They appear to be double blooms but have two short stems, one for each blossom, instead of one. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser Buy this Photo

WILTON — A chance encounter with some unusual red clover blossoms recently led to a closer look.

Red clover blossoms are typically ball-shaped clusters of flowers, either pink or white with pink tips. The ones seen in Wilton had double blossoms making them wider than most. A closer look at those blooms showed there were actually two short stems, each with a blossom, instead of one.

A closer look at a double clover blossom shows it is a cluster of flowers with interesting tips. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser Buy this Photo

Looking closer also showed that each flower in the cluster had an interesting tip.

This double clover blossom seen recently in Wilton is in an earlier stage of bloom. It shows some of the unusual tips found on each flower in the cluster. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser Buy this Photo

Some of the clover blossom pictures were sent to David Fuller. He is the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Agriculture and Non-Timber Forest Products Professional in the Farmington office.

“It’s probably some type of mutation,” Fuller said in a later phone interview. “I hadn’t seen it on clover.”

Clover is a prolific producer of nectar which is why bumblebees like them, he noted.

“They don’t have to travel far,” Fuller said.

Fuller sent the clover pictures to Richard Kersbergen, Cooperative Extension’s Sustainable Dairy and Forage Systems Specialist in Waldo County.

“Based on the water mark (V on the leaves) it is either red clover or even possibly Kura clover,” he wrote in a later email. “Alsike clover could have a similar color flower but no water mark (V).”

That I don’t know, Kersbergen replied when asked if double blossoms are common.

The Latin name for red clover is Trifolium pratense, according to Wikipedia. It is a member of Fabaceae, more commonly known as the legume, pea or bean family. These plants host bacteria in their roots that take nitrogen gas from the air and convert it to a form the plant can use.

Because of that, clover and other legumes are often grown to add nutrients to the soil. Clover is also a common feed for livestock.

Taking a closer look at the natural world can lead to interesting finds.

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