From the Great Basin to the Rocky Mountain states
Pinyon-juniper woodland, sagebrush plains, from 5,500 to 10,000 feet
Divided into 3, 4 or 5 elliptic leaflets, up to 0.8 inches long, lined by small, sharp teeth
Trifolium gymnocarpon is a small, low-growing and generally inconspicuous species, forming mats. Leaves are mostly basal, divided into (usually) three relatively thick leaflets, sometimes up to five. Leaflets are often partly folded along the midvein, and they have parallel, pinnate side veins. Leaflet surfaces may be evenly dull green, or marked with lighter patches. Stems and leaves have a sparse covering of strigose hairs.
The inflorescence is generally held at the same height as the leaves, or slightly below; a cluster of between 4 and 15 flowers, on a stalk of 1 to 2 inches. Flowers have a hairy, lobed calyx, the lobes approximately equal in length to the fused part, and a typical clover-like corolla, colored white to pale brown to pale pink. The banner petal is the largest. Petals are darker at the base. The corolla is 2 to 3 times as long as the calyx.