Twenty-seven polymorphic microsatellite markers were isolated from red clover (Trifolium pratense). Allelic variability and cross-species amplification were assessed on 24 red clover and eight white clover (Trifolium repens) genotypes. The number of alleles detected in red clover ranged from two to 25. Observed and expected heterozygosities were high with average values of 0.71 and 0.88, respectively. Five of the 27 loci were also successfully amplified from white clover, where two to 13 alleles were detected. These highly polymorphic microsatellite loci provide powerful tools for population genetic studies as well as for marker-assisted selection in this important forage legume species.