Bird's-foot Trefoil

The trefoil is a perennial herbaceous plant with york colored flowers. It is widely used as a forage plant, grown for pasture, hay, and silage. The Bird's-foot Trefoil grows also in the wild, it has been introduced in Europe by the use of American cattle food.

Bird's-foot Trefoil

Trefoil can be found in meadows, downland, on poor sand grounds. As Bird's-foot Trefoil has a deep, branched root system it can tolerate both wet and moderately dry conditions. It is tolerant for poorly drained and somewhat acid soils.

flowers of the Bird's-foot Trefoil

The flowers have a delightful colouration, dark york-yellow, with a red lining. "bacon and eggs" refer to this coloration of the flowers. Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers throughout most of summer. The flowers produce much nectar and are usually pollinated by bees and hummble bees and many solitairy bees.

propagation of the Bird's-foot Trefoil

The seed pods radiate away from the flower stalk like a claw or a bird's foot. (hence the name).It contains small pea-like pods or legumes that spring away after during a rainy period.

Bird's-foot Trefoil as a crop

Bird's-foot Trefoil has a high forage quality, excellent grazing tolerance, natural reseeding capability, and has long life span, so this makes it an ideal pasture legume. There is no risk for bloating, and the crop can be both used as a hay or for grazing. It is mostly used with a mix of slow growing grasses like timothee and reed canarygrass, Trefoil can also be seeded as a pure stand crop. The low growing varieties are best suited as a grazing food, the higher growing varieties can be used for hay production.

bird's trefoil and solitairy bees

There are many solitairy bees that feed on the nectar of the trefoil, like: Anthidium byssinum, Anthidium punctatum, Megachile leachella and Osmia parietina. and Osmia aurulenta. They collect both the nectar and De solitaire bijen verzamelen nectar en stuifmeel van de rolklaver, dit helpt het rolklaver bij de bevruchting, een symbiotische relatie dus.

Bird's foot trefoilattracts a lot of bees, some of them are solitairy bees.
The Osmia bicolor uses snail houses to bild the nest and covers it with neeldes of the fir. The mail is muc larger and darker as the female.
from the book of H. Friese "Die europaischen Bienen".
Seen on the background is the city of Innsbruck.
1 ichneumon wasps .
2 male flying
3 Osmia bicolor, the female feeds on bird's foot trefoil.
4 Chrysis trimaculata
5 Osmia bicolor, female flying with fir needles
1 Bird's foot trefoil

bird's trefoil or Lotus corniculatus var. corniculatus.