Reddish Vale Country Park


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Birdsfoot Trefoil

A native perennial, very common throughout the British Isles. Found on grassland and roadsides and as a weed of lawns. Can grow to a height of 35cm, but unlikely to get this high if free standing.




About 70 local names have been recorded for Birdsfoot Trefoil, many such as Tom Thumb, having elfin connotations. Other names include, Eggs and Bacon and butter and eggs.

Birdsfoot Trefoil is used in agriculture as a forage plant, grown for pasture, hay and silage. Taller growing cultivars have been developed for this.

A double flowered variety is grown as an ornamental plant. The plant is an important nectar source for many insects and is also used as a larval food plant for many butterflies.

The stem of the plant is anchored in the ground by long tap roots. The rootstock can live for up to 30 years.

The name Birdsfoot refers to the appearance of the seed pods on their stalk. There are five leaflets, but with the central three held conspicuously above the others, hence the name Trefoil.


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