Beekeepers in my part of the Ozarks have reason to rejoice. Once the temperatures get back into the seventies, this is a clover spring. Clover loves it cool and moist.
My pasture has a lot of orchard grass and clover in it. These are not native but have moved in determined to make themselves at home. Much of the clover is white clover.
In the pasture white clover is a great plant. It puts down a deep taproot. It spreads by runners. It has root nodules containing nitrogen fixing bacteria. The drawback is when cows or horses graze on dewy white clover and bloat. Goats don’t seem to care.
Wanting clover but wanting to avoid the bloat problem, red clover was brought in. The problem with red clover is temperature. It prefers it warm like in central Arkansas where it used to paint the county roadsides deep red.
So a cross between red and white produced crimson, a pink clover that grows in my pastures. This is a big plant with small runners. It has the nitrogen fixing bacteria like all clovers do. It doesn’t cause bloat and likes it cool.
Black medick is a small clover immigrant. It has small leaves in the usual clover sets of three. It has a clover flower head in miniature in brilliant yellow. This is a popular goat snack.
White and yellow sweet clovers are blooming along the roads. These look like the same plant in two colors but are listed separately in the wildflower books. These are tall leggy plants with long towers of flowers on the tips of the numerous branches. They are both immigrants and considered pests by all but the insects.
Many other clovers have yet to bloom. Some are even native to the Ozarks. They too love this cool moist spring now supposed to be early summer. After all, the fireflies are lighting up the evenings when the night temperatures are in the sixties.
Clover honey is highly prized. With the carpets of clover blossoms the bees have plenty of nectar. Many new beekeepers are getting started in my county. This is the year to get their hives off to a strong start.