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Forage Identification: Birdsfoot trefoil

Department of Plant Sciences

Birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.)

 

Adaptation:
This short lived perennial legume is adapted to humid, temperate regions. Adapted to a wide range of soils. Birdsfoot trefoil tolerates acidity, alkalinity, low fertility, drought Prostrate or upright growth. Grows 12 to 30 inches tall, depending on whether it is a prostrate or erect variety. Types with prostrate stems are more winter hardy and are better adapted for grazing, while upright types make better hay. and poor drainage.

Birdsfoot trefoil

Growth Habitat: 
Prostrate or upright growth. Grows 12 to 30 inches tall, depending on whether it is a prostrate or erect variety. Types with prostrate stems are more winter hardy and are better adapted for grazing, while upright types make better hay.

Birdsfoot flower

Plant Characteristics: 
Deep rooted, having finer stems and more leaves than alfalfa. Has three terminal leaflets near the base of the stem, like stipules. Five oval leaflets, non-hairy. Flowers are bright yellow. Brown to purple seed pods radiate from the stem branch, resembling a bird's foot.

Birdsfoot trefoil

Seed Characteristics:
Seed of Birdsfoot trefoil is very small, dark brown, and round in shape. 

 

Birdsfoot trefoil seed

Important Identifying Characteristics:
Pinnate leaf arrangement. Brown to purple seed pods radiate from stem branch, resemble bird's foot.

Primary Uses:
Pasture and erosion control.Usually grown in mixtures with grasses, such as bluegrass, orchardgrass, and tall fescue. Non-bloating legume.


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