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Pest Information

Birdsfoot Trefoil

Birdsfoot Trefoil

  • Latin Name: Lotus Corniculatus
  • Common Name: Birdsfoot Trefoil
  • Other Names: Trefoil, babies’ slippers, bloom-fell, cat’s clover, crow toes, ground honeysuckle, sheep foot, hop-o’-my-thumb, devil’s claw

Pest Details

Birdsfoot Trefoil
Birdsfoot Trefoil
Birdsfoot Trefoil

Origin:

Introduced from Europe as a desirable forage plant used in irrigated pastures. Now found throughout the United States and southern Canada as a problem weed in landscape and turf, as well as in cultivated crops.

Biology:

A warm season perennial that may remain green and with flowers in warm climates, but goes dormant in areas where the winter is cold. Propagation is from seed, and plants also spread rapidly by stolons and rhizomes, forming large, very wide clumps and mats. Foliage is dense and may crowd out desirable turf.

Identification:

Mature plants tend to form low mats, and over time the stems get almost a woody habit in warm climates where plants persist through the winter. They are extensively branched, and stems are square on top and rounded on the base. Leaves are similar to clover, but along with the 3 elongate-oval leaflets on a long petiole, there are 2 leaf-like “stipules” on the petiole between the leaflets and the stem. Flowers are produced throughout the summer and into the fall, as bright yellow flowers in clusters of 3 to 6 flowers, on a long petiole.

Characteristicts Important to Control:

May be used as cover to prevent soil erosion, or as a forage crop. Tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions, including dry soils with low fertility.

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