Saturday, July 11, 2015

Confusing Mexican Clovers (Richardia spp.) of Florida

In August 2014, I discovered two species of Mexican Clover (Richardia spp.) growing together in a weedy field in southern Suwannee County off County Road 49 about 1 mile north of State Road 247. 

There are two similar and widespread kinds of Mexican Clovers in Florida.  Both have small white flowers with five or six points and both are exotics from South America. 

Rough Mexican Clover (Richardia scabra) has narrower leaves and grows taller.  The fruit are nearly smooth and have a deep groove (see upper photos below). 

Tropical Mexican Clover (Richardia brasiliensis) is much more abundant.  It grows closer to the ground and the leaves are more rounded.  The fruit are hairy with a shallow groove.  Tropical Mexican Clover loves mown areas such as lawns and roadsides.  Because it naturally grows close to the ground, mowing doesn’t cause it much harm.

TOP:  Rough Mexican Clover (Richardia scabra).    BOTTOM:  Tropical Mexican Clover (Richardia brasiliensis).

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