Local botanist John Swindells writes:
A group from the London Natural History Society recording plants in Mile End Park in April found Subterranean or Burrowing Clover (Trifolium subterraneum) close to the Arts Pavilion. More frequently occurring near to the coast in southern England from Devon and Cornwall to Norfolk, though also inland growing in shallow soils on sand or chalk, this plant is very rare in the London area. This is probably the first record ever for Tower Hamlets and the first for inner London since at least 1930.
Unlike most clovers which have numerous individual flowers in a head, Subterranean Clover has only two to five creamy white flowers. The globular seed pods which develop from the flowers turn down and push into the ground as they mature – hence the plant’s English names.
Header photo: Subterranean Clover (George Hounsome)