Birdsfoot Trefoil: Small Yellow Wildflower

Birdsfoot trefoil is a small, delicate looking yellow wildflower in the pea family.  But don’t let it fool you, this little flower is one tough cookie.  It has a long bloom period, beginning early summer and extending through the first frost.  If it sprouts up on your lawn, good luck getting rid of it.  You’d have to destroy the root system.  Mowing it down only shortens the height, as birdsfoot will continue to flower.  Might we all be so strong as the mighty little trefoil?

Bird's foot trefoil

Other Names

Birdfoot deervetch
Bacon and eggs
Dutchman’s clogs
Lady’s slippers

Identification

Birdsfoot trefoil is an herbaceous perennial legume that reproduces by seed, rhizomes, and runners.

HEIGHT   6 – 24″ (unless mowed!)
STEMS   slender, branching, moderately leafy
LEAVES   smooth, divided into 5 leaflets, alternate, pinnately compound
BLOOM   yellow and sometimes streaked with red, clusters at the top of the stem grow in a whorl

Season

June through the first frost

Habitat

Disturbed areas
Fields
Grassy areas
Prairies
Roadside
Waste areas

Full sun to light shade

bird's foot trefoil distribution

Where birdsfoot trefoil grows

Droughty, dry, or moist soil

Range

Native to northern Africa, Europe, Mediterranean basin, and parts of Eurasia.  Introduced to South America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and USA where it is an invasive weed.

Notes

Birdsfoot trefoil is a wild food for Canada geese, deer, elk, and other pasture animals.

 
 
 
Sources
 
USDA Plants:  http://plants.usda.gov/factsheet/pdf/fs_loco6.pdf
 
USDA Plants:  http://plants/usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=loco6
 
US Weed of the Week:   http://na/fs/fed/us/fhp/invasive_plants/weeds/birds-foot-trefoil.pdf
 
Department of Agriculture & Food Australia:   http://www.agric/wa/gov/au/objtwr/imported_assets/content/past/birdsfoot%20trefoil.pdf

2 Comments on “Birdsfoot Trefoil: Small Yellow Wildflower

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