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It is a perennial herbaceous plant, similar in appearance to some clovers. The name 'bird's foot' refers to the appearance of the seed pods on their stalk. Five leaflets are present, but with the central three held conspicuously above the others, hence the use of the name 'trefoil'. It is often used as forage and is widely used as food for livestock due to its nonbloating properties.Birdsfoot trefoil is an invasive species in many parts of North America and Australia. It has been commonly planted along roadsides for erosion control or pastures for forage and then spreads into natural areas.
Birdsfoot trefoil, bird's foot trefoil, trefoil, bird’s-foot trefoil, upright trefoil, common lotus, broad-leaved trefoil, common trefoil, common birds foot, birds foot deer-vetch, bacon-and-eggs [English]; cornette, cube, lotier corniculé, lotier des prés, pied de poule, serradelle, trèfle cornu [French]; cuernecillo, cuernecillo del campo, loto de los prados, loto corniculado, serradella, trébol a cuernitos, trébol pata de pájaro [Spanish]; cornichão [Portuguese]; Gewone rolklaver [Dutch]; Gewöhnliche Hornklee [German]; ginestrino [Italian]; Gazelboynuzu [Turkish]; Ø§Ù„Ù„ÙˆØ·Ø³ Ø§Ù„ÙŠØ§Ø¨Ø§Ù†ÙŠ ; Ù„ÙˆØ·Ø³ ÙŠØ§Ø¨Ø§Ù†ÙŠ [Arabic]; ç™¾è„‰æ ¹ [Chinese]; ãƒŸãƒ¤ã‚³ã‚°ã‚µ [Japanese]; Ð›ÑÐ´Ð²ÐµÐ½ÐµÑ† Ñ€Ð¾Ð³Ð°ÌÑ‚Ñ‹Ð¹ [Russian]
Birdsfoot trefoil is a short to medium-lived perennial legume. It is a sparsely pubescent plant with a habit varying from prostrate to erect. Erect forms can reach 60-90 cm in height. It is taprooted and has many lateral roots, mainly in the top 60 cm of soil. The root system can go as deep as 120 cm (UC SAREP, 2006). The stems grow from the roots or from the basal nodes on the stubble left after grazing or cutting. The leaves are alternate, pentafoliate with 2 lower leaflets resembling stipules, hence the name trefoil. The foliage is glabrous, slender and pale green. The inflorescences of Lotus corniculatus are umbel-like cymes borne at the end of axillary branches. Each inflorescence bears 8 pea-like, fragrant flowers, pale yellow to bright yellow sometimes tinged with red, hence the common name “bacon-and-eggs”. The fruits are cylindrical pods (2.5 cm long) at right angles to each other, hence the name "birdsfoot trefoil". The pods turn light brown to black when mature, and split open releasing 10 to 15 seeds. The seeds are very small, olive green to black in colour and hard-coated (FAO, 2014; UC SAREP, 2006; Hannaway et al., 2004). (Source: www.feedipedia.org)