Alsike clover is far more hardy than red clover, and will grow on land too wet for the latter. It is adapted to moist clay soils, and sandy loam soils rich in humus, but it will thrive in dry sandy or gravelly land. It requires lime, but will succeed with less than either white or red clover. In Ontario, Canada, where hundreds of acres were formerly grown exclusively for seed, it was regarded as the foremost honey plant, and in many localities it is the only source of honey in quantities. There is probably no region in this country where it produces larger yields than in the vicinity of the Great Lakes. As the home of alsike clover is in Sweden, this species doubtless had its origin in northern latitudes; and, consequently, it thrives better in a cold than in a warm climate. For this reason it is more or less generally cultivated in the northern half of the United States, while it is almost unknown in the southern half. It is extensively grown from New England to the east border line of the Dakotas and Nebraska, and as far south as the Ohio River. Other dense but small areas occur in central Tennessee, east Kansas, western Colorado, southern Idaho, and the Pacific coast region of Washington and Oregon. To a more limited extent it is grown in Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri, Wyoming, and Montana, and in portions of the adjoining states. In Michigan the crop of clover honey would be small if it were not for alsike clover, as white clover has disappeared to a large extent. It is a great benefit to beekeeping in many other states, and in the future will surpass all other species of Trifolium in importance. It is growing in favor with farmers, for it endures well adverse conditions of weather, and is well fitted for grazing. Its planting instead of red clover should be encouraged. Alsike clover is grown only to a very small extent in the hot climate and sandy soils of the Gulf and southwestern states. In localities a heavy rainfall may enable alsike to withstand hot weather.
The substitution of alsike for red clover promises to be of great importance to American beekeepers. Many locations will be literally transformed. Beekeepers should not only preach the gospel of sowing alsike, but should offer to pay a part of the cost of the seed. After alsike has once been introduced it becomes self-sowing, and springs up where other clovers fail to make a satisfactory growth. The quality of the hay is improved and the quantity of the honey increased, and less feeding of sugar syrup in the fall is necessary. The seed is always saved from the first crop of flowers, which should be allowed to stand two weeks longer than when the clover is cut for hay. On an estate in Sweden, where twenty acres were set apart for raising seed, the average annual production for five years was 133 pounds per acre. It should be mowed either early in the morning or late in the evening, when wet with dew, otherwise the riper pods with the best seed fall off and are lost.
Alsike clover was called hybridum by Linnaeus, who supposed it to he a hybrid between white clover and red clover; hut it is now believed to be a distinct species. It was named alsike from the parish of Alsike in Upland, Sweden, where it was first discovered, and where it is very abundant. In 1834 it was introduced into England. It is a very hardy perennial plant adapted to cultivation in a cold climate. The structure and pollination of the flowers are similar to those of white clover.
White Clover (Trifolium repens). In the central and eastern states no other honey plant is so universally known as white clover, and white-clover honey is the honey par excellence — the honey with which all other honeys are compared. It is a delicious white honey of the finest quality; while not so thick and heavy as goldenrod, nor so pronounced in flavor as buckwheat or basswood honey, yet it possesses the qualities which satisfy the largest number of consumers, and fills most perfectly the demand for a table honey of the highest grade. It is given the preference by most purchasers, and the highest praise which can be bestowed on any honey is to pronounce it equal to that of white clover.
THE DISTRIBUTION OF WHITE CLOVER
Like alsike clover, white clover thrives better in a cold than in a warm climate, and consequently secretes nectar more abundantly in northern than in southern regions. In favorable seasons a surplus of 200 pounds of clover honey per colony, according to Sladen, is common at Lake Temiskaming. At Roberval, on Lake St.