Plant & Flower Identification

Discover The Fascinating World Of Plants That Look Like Clovers

Welcome to my comprehensive guide on plants that look like clovers. Prepare to be captivated as we explore the world of these clover lookalikes.

With their similar leaf structures, these plants have mastered the art of mimicry.

From their leaf structures to their green hues, these botanical mimics captivate us. However, certain varieties may threaten our conventional lawn.

So, it is important to know the true clover plants. Join me on this journey as we unravel the secrets behind the plant with clover like leaves.

What Are The Concept Of Plants That Look Like Clovers? 

plants that look like clovers

White clover look alikes are also referred to as all plants resembling clovers. They are distinct species that exhibit similarities with genuine clovers.

Shamrock plant, yellow wood sorrel, spotted deadnettle, and winged clover are some examples.

Despite their analogous leaf structures, each clover mimic has unique characteristics. Each is distinguished from authentic clovers.

To protect clover plants, it is crucial for gardeners to identify them based on the tree structure and leaves, like identifying fruit trees.

Some clover lookalikes can be detrimental to healthy plants if not removed immediately. Authentic clovers boost soil nitrogen content and water capacity.

Meanwhile, some common lawn weeds that look like clover having yellow flowers can damage other mature plants.

What Are The Features Of Clover Like Plants?

Clover mimetic plants have several characteristics that resemble true clovers. The clover lookalikes have leaves arranged in a trefoil shape. Each leaflet resembles that of a genuine clover.

Additionally, these plants often have tiny, clustered flowers. However, regular clovers also possess distinct features. Their fragrant leaves distinguish them.

The plants will have a positive impact on water capacity and soil nitrogen. Meanwhile, clover lookalikes can vary in their effects.

Some may be harmful weeds that negatively affect healthy plants if not managed. Recognizing these features is crucial for distinguishing clover-like plants from authentic clovers.

How Do You Identify Plants Like Clovers?

To ensure your healthy plants, it is crucial to recognize clover-like weeds. Some are popular among gardeners for their fragrant leaves and lovely blooms.

Yet, removing them or having some protection methods is still better for other plants.

Step 1: To prevent unwanted weeds from encroaching, step one is to identify the clover shape. It can be done by looking for plants with flowers resembling a clover’s distinct shape.It is a simple yet effective way to differentiate clover plants from others.

As precious clover plants contribute to improving soil quality, protecting them is crucial. Weeds that resemble clover, especially those with yellow flower color, can threaten your garden.

Removal of these unwanted plants can be done by pulling them out with your hands. Pesticides can be used if necessary.

Step 2: To effectively identify clovers, closely observe their leaf characteristics. A key aspect of this is examining the leaf size and shape. Clover leaves feature a distinct oval shape. It sets them apart from the clover look-like leaves that feature heart shapes like oxalis plants.

These leaves are non-glossy and clustered together. They form a compound with three flat leaflets with rounded margins. However, some other clover-like species may have similar leaf shapes and textures. Yet, examining the leaf shape is effective for certain clover lookalikes varieties.

Step 3: To identify clovers, an important step is to check for the presence of hairs on the underside of the leaves. These hairs are downward-pointed. Take a close look at the leaves and search for these small hairs. The plant is likely not a clover if these hairs are not visible.

Step 4: Another trick you can do is to observe the white clover flowers. This beneficial plant often grows alongside healthy grass. The plant enhances nitrogen enrichment in the garden. Meanwhile, some plants mimic clovers and bear yellow flowers. They will pose a potential threat to your healthy lawn.

Step 5:  If you encounter difficulty in identifying a clover, do not hesitate to seek help. A professional gardener or local plant expert can inspect the clover plants for you. They possess the expertise and knowledge to identify clovers accurately.

What Are The Clover Looking Plants?

white clover look alikes

Clovers are beloved plants known for their distinctive three-leaf structure and vibrant green. However, several other plants closely resemble clovers.

Although these clover-looking plants share similar features, such as leaf shape and flower clusters, each has its own unique characteristics, and here are some of them.


The purple shamrock plants resemble clover but are not identical. They are classified by plant historians as Trifolium pratense flore albo and Trifolium pratense. It indicates a white or red clover. The common name is lesser clover. The debate continues regarding its true classification as a clover.

It is considered a three-leafed grass in England. Meanwhile, the plant holds symbolic value associated with St. Patrick in Ireland. The three leaves of the shamrock hold a legendary meaning related to hope, faith, and love.

From a botanical standpoint, the shamrock corresponds to Trifolium Repens and Dubium classifications. Both clover and shamrock share green trifoliate leaves but differ in flowers.

Clovers have spiky flowers with round heads. They can come in various colors, while shamrock mainly features white flowers with hints of pink. 

The key distinction lies in petal count, with clovers having four petals or even more. Shamrocks are petite plants, reaching a height of approximately 20 cm.

They boast yellow-green, heart-shaped leaves with a gently serrated edge. Despite debates, the shamrock holds cultural and botanical significance.

Iron Cross

The Iron Cross (Oxalis Tetraphylla) is also known as the lucky plant. It bears a striking resemblance to a Clover. Witnessing an Iron Cross is captivating, with its four leaves.

They are dark purple at the center, and the four leaves form a cross-like structure.

Another characteristic of this clover lookalike is its leaves folding closed during nighttime. The Iron Cross displays vibrant pink trumpet-like blooms, unlike Clovers’ round, white flowers.

However, the similarities between the Iron Cross and the clover should not be overlooked.

Suckling Clover

Often considered a Trifolium dubium or lesser trefoil, this plant belongs to the same Fabaceae clover family. However, it lacks the distinct leaflets and patterns of Trifolium Repense (White Clover).

In a field from a distance, both look pretty much the same.

Its leaves resemble a Shamrock with a closer look. When in bloom, it is easier to differentiate Trifolium dubium from Trifolium Repense.

The Suckling Clover showcases flowers with pale yellow. Meanwhile, you can see the Trifolium Repense clusters are white.

Additionally, the Suckling plant leaves have distinguishing features. They are hairy on the underside, like the hairy part of an artichoke. These hairs develop along the main vein and at the vein ends.

Red Clover

Red Clover, scientifically known as Trifolium Pratense, is a gorgeous plant that resembles clover. Its leaves are oval and palmately structured in threes with a darker green hue and a similar”V” shape.

The plant boasts bright pink-red clustered flowers, standing out from other clover species’ white blooms.

Red Clover is found throughout Canadian provinces and the US, except Nunavut. This plant offers medicinal benefits, reducing inflammation and boosting the immune system.

It contains isoflavones, acting like estrogen. The plant is rich in vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin C, and magnesium.

As a perennial, Red Clover reaches a height of 2 feet, preferring well-drained soil and tolerating various pH levels.

The tree requires moderate watering yet can withstand temperature extremes. Red Clover thrives in full sun to partial shade.

While susceptible to pests like aphids, it is generally disease-resistant. Red Clover is edible and versatile in soups, salads, and teas.

Lucky Four-leaf Clover

The common three-leafed clover has a rare variant known as the 4-leaf clover. It’s not an everyday occurrence to find a real four-leaf clover, and it is considered to bring good luck to you.

Although the plants are scarce, clovers with four leaves or above can still be discovered.

People searching for a distinctive and lucky clover should keep an eye out for those with more than three leaflets.

Botanists discovered that approximately one in every 5,000 clovers possesses four leaflets.

Black Medic

Black Medic (Medicago lupulina) is a distinct plant species that can be differentiated from clover plants. While it may resemble clovers at first glance, several characteristics set it apart.

Black Medic is a sprawling plant found in dry grasslands.

It belongs to the same family as clovers. However, it has three oval-shaped, hairy leaves with serrated edges. Meanwhile, clover leaflets have smaller serrations.

Another notable difference is that Black Medic has tiny yellow flowers that grow in a clump. Clovers have round-headed flowers of various colors.

Additionally, Black Medic stems, and veins are hairy, unlike clovers.

Yellowwood Sorrel

Yellowwood Sorrel, commonly known as Oxalis Stricta, is a herbaceous perennial plant. There are a few differences between the two plants.

Yellowwood Sorrel has a triangular-shaped leaf, unlike the oval-shaped leaves of clover.

Also, Yellowwood Sorrel has yellow flowers, while clover plants have white or pale pink flowers. Additionally, Yellowwood Sorrel is commonly found in pastures, woodlands, and lawns.

For clovers, these popular plants are more likely to be found in fields and meadows. Yellowwood Sorrel has been used in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Spotted Deadnettle

Due to several differences, spotted Deadnettle (Lamium Maculatum) is easily distinguishable.

Unlike clovers, Spotted Deadnettle is a flowering perennial herb that belongs to the mint family (Lamiaceae). It features square stems and opposite leaves with distinct variegated patterns.

The plant often exhibits white or silver spots. In contrast, clovers have trifoliate leaves. Spotted Deadnettle produces showy, tubular-shaped flowers.

They come in various shades of pink, purple, or white. Meanwhile, clovers typically have round-headed flowers.

Furthermore, Spotted Deadnettle spreads through creeping stems, forming dense ground cover. Clovers tend to grow in clumps.

Although it is recognizable, you sometimes make mistakes with the jagged leaves in both plants in the distance.

Winged Clover 

Winged clover, scientifically known as Trifolium Albopurpureum, possesses distinct characteristics. Unlike typical clovers, Winged Clover stands out due to its winged stems.

They feature thin, leafy extensions running along their length.

These unique wings give the plant its name. Additionally, Winged Clover produces vibrant, pinkish-purple flowers arranged in a compact.

The clusters are spherical. This is in contrast to the round-headed flowers seen in many clover species.

The combination of winged stems and eye-catching flowers makes Winged Clover easily distinguishable. They add to the ornamental appeal of green lawns and landscapes.

Japanese Clover 

Japanese Clover, scientifically known as Lespedeza striata, is a perennial plant that belongs to the pea family.

Although it is often referred to as a clover plant, it differs from true clovers. Japanese Clover has thin, delicate stems, while clover plants have thicker stems.

The leaves of Japanese clover are small and narrow, while clover leaves are usually oval-shaped. Japanese clover produces small, pinkish-purple flowers, while clovers have white or pink flowers.

The plant is native to Asia but has been introduced to North America as an ornamental plant. It is commonly used for erosion control due to its ability to grow in poor soil conditions.

Lesser Celandine

Lesser Celandine (Ficaria verna) possesses distinct characteristics. It is a perennial flowering plant that belongs to the buttercup family.

Unlike clovers, Lesser Celandine has heart-shaped leaves with smooth edges and a glossy texture.

Clover leaflets, on the other hand, typically have serrated edges. Lesser Celandine produces bright, yellow, star-shaped flowers with multiple petals. Meanwhile, clovers have round-headed flowers.

Additionally, Lesser Celandine spreads through rhizomes, forming dense mats. Clovers tend to grow in clumps.

These differences in leaf, flower, and favorable conditions make Lesser Celandine easily distinguishable.


clover like plants

Plants that look like clovers are a wide range of species that have similar characteristics to clover plants.

They can be found in various habitats and have different features, such as trifoliate leaves and similar growth patterns.

Identifying the difference between clovers and other plants requires a closer inspection.

Samuel Mark

Hello I am Samuel. Samuel's Garden is a garden blog where I share my experiences in garden caring and tree growth. Hope you enjoy it!

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  1. A photo showing leaf and flower shape following the description of every faux clover plant would’ve been MOST helpful in telling all these apart from one another.
    I’m just an amateur after all- after reading a few, the descriptions alone tend to fuzz together.

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