White clover (Trifolium repens) is polymorphic for the presence/absence of cyanogenesis (cyanide release with tissue damage). The Olsen lab studies the genetic basis and evolution of this adaptive chemical defense variation. (Photo copyright Kenneth Olsen)

By registering with this website, teachers and their students will be able to participate in ongoing research guided by Dr. Olsen at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Olsen will use the data collected by teachers and their students as he integrates molecular and ecological genetics to examine the origin and evolution of this adaptive polymorphism.

Given the very high demand for these kits and the end of the NSF funding that made them available for free to teachers, we are now making them available for purchase at-cost.

With your purchase you will receive a full kit of materials that will allow you to conduct active research using white clover to teach a variety of curriculum topics.  This activity is enriched by having classes across the country contribute their data to the website for sharing with other classes.  We value your data contributions!

We are only able to ship kits within the US and Canada.

For questions or inquiries about the Clover Project and the hands-on kits, contact Linda Small


This website is dedicated to providing teachers and students with information about the Clover Lab protocol developed by science teachers and Dr. Kenneth Olsen at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Throughout this lab, your students will have the opportunity to study such areas as Mendelian genetics, population genetics, natural selection, and the effects of plant herbivory.

Upon completing these lab activities, students will be able to:

  • Determine whether clover populations located in geographically warmer climates, or cooler climates, are more likely to produce cyanide.
  • Identify the cyanogenesis allele frequencies of your clover populations.
  • Explain how the frequency of cyanide-producing plants in local clover populations varies depending on the location of the plants.
  • Compare and contrast data to similar climates and more extreme climates across the country using data gathered by other participating teachers and students.

                                                                                 NSF Grant IOS-1557770