Kanji in this term
Grade: S
Grade: 1


Compound of 詰め (tsume, packing, the 連用形 (ren'yōkei, continuative or stem form) of verb 詰める (tsumeru, to pack something)) +‎ (kusa, plant, herb).[1][2][3][4]

The name of the plant arose from the practice of Dutch merchants shipping goods to Japan of using dried clover as a packing material to protect glassware and other fragile merchandise.[1][5]

First cited to a botanical reference work from 1884.[1] The plant was introduced to Japan, accounting for the late appearance of the term.

Not to be confused with homophonous 爪草 (tsumekusa, Sagina japonica, Japanese pearlwort).



詰草: white (Trifolium repens) and red clover (Trifolium pratense)

(つめ)(くさ) (tsumekusa

  1. [from 1884] clover: short for 白詰草 (shiro tsumekusa, white clover), or short for 赤詰草 (aka tsumekusa, red clover)
    Synonyms: 白詰草 (shiro tsumekusa, literally white clover), 赤詰草 (aka tsumekusa, literally red clover), クローバー (kurōbā), (less specifically) 馬肥やし (umagoyashi)

Usage notesEdit

As with many terms that name organisms, this term is often spelled in katakana, especially in biological contexts (where katakana is customary), as ツメクサ.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 詰草”, in 日本国語大辞典 (Nihon Kokugo Daijiten, Nihon Kokugo Daijiten)[1] (in Japanese), 2nd edition, Tōkyō: Shogakukan, 2000, →ISBN
  2. ^ 詰草”, in デジタル大辞泉 (Dejitaru Daijisen)[2] (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan, updated roughly every four months
  3. 3.0 3.1 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN
  4. 4.0 4.1 1997, 新明解国語辞典 (Shin Meikai Kokugo Jiten), Fifth Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN
  5. ^ 白詰草”, in デジタル大辞泉 (Dejitaru Daijisen)[3] (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan, updated roughly every four months

Further readingEdit