Trifolium vesiculosum Savi, Fl. Pis. 2: 165. 1798 (as 'Trifolium vessiculosum' ),

Scoppola, Anna, Lattanzi, Edda & Bernardo, Liliana, 2016, Distribution and taxonomy of the Italian clovers belonging to Trifolium sect. Vesicastrum subsect. Mystillus (Fabaceae), Italian Botanist 2, pp. 7-27: 15-16

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Trifolium vesiculosum Savi, Fl. Pis. 2: 165. 1798 (as 'Trifolium vessiculosum' )


Trifolium vesiculosum Savi, Fl. Pis. 2: 165. 1798 (as 'Trifolium vessiculosum') 


( ‘lectotype’ designated by Zohary and Heller 1984: 276): Clairières de bois, Pisa, Juillet, P. Savi (M).


Flowering heads large; fruiting calyx vesicular, turbinate, shining, netted-nerved, calyx teeth with base not ciliolate; corolla longer than calyx, seeds sub-globular, light brown ( Figures 2AView Figure 2 and 5View Figure 5).

Updated geographical distribution.

Tuscany: +, Umbria: +, Lazio: +, Abruzzo: +, Campania: +, Apulia: 0 (new), Basilicata: 0 (new), Calabria: 0 (new), Sicily: 0 (new), Sardinia: +.


It is a Mediterranean species growing from southern to central Europe on fertile, well-drained soils. This clover is cultivated on a large scale for forage and has a good ability of self-sowing because of the high production of hard seeds ( Gillett and Taylor 2001, Coulot and Rabaute 2013). It was repeatedly cited by Italian botanists for central and southern Italy. However, its presence has probably been overestimated mainly in the past due either to the different taxonomical treatments of closely-related species or to confusion among them. In particular, we cannot confirm the species in Apulia, although it is indicated by Conti et al. (2005). Tenore (1835-1838) reports it for Gargano where it is not confirmed by Licht (2008). Additional data come from Béguinot (in Fenaroli 1970) but we were not able to find herbarium samples for the mentioned locality (Bosco Sfilzi). Concerning Basilicata, the indications from Balvano (Barbazita) and Muro Lucano (N. Terracciano), as well as the samples by Trotter (Gavioli 1848) could not be verified till now. Gibelli and Belli (1892) identify a Trifolium vesiculosum var. stenodictyon  Gibelli & Belli from Mt. Vulture, based on samples collected by Terracciano and Gussone, corresponding to intermediate forms (hybrids?) between Trifolium vesiculosum  and Trifolium multistriatum  , but Trifolium vesiculosum  s.str. is not confirmed either from the literature or by recent gatherings.

This species is considered as occurring in Calabria by Conti et al. (2005), based on Zohary and Heller (1984), who assigned a specimen of Trifolium multistriatum  from Fiumefreddo Bruzio (A. Fiori, 1899, FI!) to Trifolium vesiculosum var. rumelicum  . Moreover, for the same region there are also some old reports ( Porta 1879, Macchiati 1884) dating back to a time when Trifolium mutabile  and Trifolium multistriatum  , both currently occurring in Calabria, were considered as varieties of Trifolium vesiculosum  . Thus, the latter species is here recorded as requiring confirmation.

The presence of the species by Conti et al. (2005) in Sicily derives from Brullo (1982), who cites it in some phytosociological relevés. It is also reported by Gussone (1843) and by Giardina et al. (2007), but questioned by La Rosa (2011) and by Giardina et al. (2007), who quote many references and state “… all localities of Southern Sicily are doubtful due perhaps to the limited identification made by the authors to the rank of species to Trifolium mutabile  ( Trifolium vesiculosum Savi subsp. mutabile  Portenschl.". To the latter species we attribute the Sicilian reports of Trifolium vesiculosum  . However, the sample in CAT ( from Cefalù, clearly refers to Trifolium vesiculosum  and confirms the presence of the species, at least in the past.

Collected specimens.

Italy. Tuscany: Manciano, Monti di Castro Loc. Campigliola, 42.526919°N 11.519618°E, 27 June 2015, A. Scoppola ( UTV). Umbria: Castel Giorgio, lungo variante via Parma 42.712320°N 11.979294°E, 543 m, 25 June 2016, A. Nizzoli and A. Scoppola ( UTV); Orvieto, Loc. Canonica, 42.700492°N 12.050351°E, 460 m, 25 June 2016, A. Nizzoli and A. Scoppola ( UTV); Lazio: S. Martino al Cimino, Viterbo, Loc. Chiesa Nuova, 42.366113°N 12.120279°E, 517 m, 4 Jul 2016, A. Scoppola ( UTV). Campania: Sessa Aurunca, Parco regionale Roccamonfina, lungo strada per S. Maria Valogno, 41.303914°N 13.894509°E, 60 m, 3 June 2016, A. Scoppola and E. Lattanzi ( UTV); ibidem, lungo SS430 nei pressi di Masseria S. Anna, 26 m, 41.309700°N 13.896533°E, 3 June 2016, A. Scoppola ( UTV); ibidem, SS430 incrocio strada per S. Carlo, 41.319240°N 13.890250°E, 27 m, 3 June 2016, E. Lattanzi ( RO); Masseria S. Anna, Parco di Roccamonfina, 41.311930°N 13.897133°E, 42 m, 5 June 2016, A. Nizzoli ( UTV).