Birdsfoot Trefoil: Small Yellow Wildflower

autumn wildflowers, Identification, Photography, spring wildflowers, summer wildflowers, Wildflowers, yellow wildflowers / Monday, July 30th, 2012

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


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


June through the first frost


Disturbed areas
Grassy areas
Waste areas

Full sun to light shade

bird's foot trefoil distribution
Where birdsfoot trefoil grows

Droughty, dry, or moist soil


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.


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

USDA Plants:
USDA Plants:  http://plants/
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

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