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Birdsfoot Clover

Trifolium ornithopodiodes

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Fabaceae (Pea)
Also in this family:
Alpine Milk-vetch, Alsike Clover, Birdsfoot, Bird's-foot Trefoil, Bithynian Vetch, Bitter Vetch, Black Broom, Black Medick, Bladder Senna, Broad Bean, Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea, Bur Medick, Burrowing Clover, Bush Vetch, Clustered Clover, Common Broom, Common Gorse, Common Laburnum, Common Restharrow, Common Vetch, Crimson Clover, Crown Vetch, Dragon's Teeth, Dwarf Gorse, Dyer's Greenweed, False Acacia, Fine-leaved Vetch, Fodder Vetch, Garden Lupin, Garden Pea, Goat's Rue, Grass Vetchling, Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil, Hairy Bird's-foot Trefoil, Hairy Greenweed, Hairy Tare, Hairy Vetchling, Hairy-fruited Broom, Haresfoot Clover, Hop Trefoil, Horseshoe Vetch, Hungarian Vetch, Kidney Vetch, Knotted Clover, Large Trefoil, Lesser Trefoil, Lucerne, Marsh Pea, Meadow Vetchling, Narrow-leaved Bird's-foot Trefoil, Narrow-leaved Everlasting Pea, Narrow-leaved Vetch, Nootka Lupin, Norfolk Everlasting Pea, Orange Birdsfoot, Petty Whin, Purple Milk-vetch, Purple Oxytropis, Red Clover, Reversed Clover, Ribbed Melilot, Rough Clover, Russell Lupin, Sainfoin, Scorpion Senna, Scottish Laburnum, Sea Clover, Sea Pea, Sickle Medick, Slender Bird's-foot Trefoil, Slender Tare, Slender Trefoil, Small Melilot, Small Restharrow, Smooth Tare, Spanish Broom, Spanish Gorse, Spiny Restharrow, Spotted Medick, Spring Vetch, Strawberry Clover, Suffocated Clover, Sulphur Clover, Tall Melilot, Toothed Medick, Tree Lupin, Tuberous Pea, Tufted Vetch, Twin-headed Clover, Two-flowered Everlasting Pea, Upright Clover, Upright Vetch, Western Clover, Western Gorse, White Broom, White Clover, White Lupin, White Melilot, Wild Liquorice, Wood Vetch, Yellow Oxytropis, Yellow Vetch, Yellow Vetchling, Zigzag Clover
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
20 centimetres tall
Fields, lawns, seaside, wasteland.

Pink, 5 petals
Short-stalked pale pink or white flowers in clusters of 1 to 4. Individual flowers are 6 to 8mm across.
The fruit are pea-like pods.
A prostrate hairy annual flower that has trefoil leaves. Birdsfoot Clover is similar to Burrowing Clover (Trifolium subterraneum) but is not hairy.
Other Names:
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Birdsfoot clover, also known as Trifolium ornithopodiodes, is a perennial legume native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It is often used as a forage crop for livestock, as well as a cover crop to improve soil fertility and structure. The plant has small, pink or white flowers and grows best in cool, moist climates. It is adapted to a variety of soil types and can tolerate heavy grazing. Like other clovers, birdsfoot clover is able to fix nitrogen in the soil, making it a valuable addition to crop rotations.


Birdsfoot clover (Trifolium ornithopodiodes), also known as crowfoot clover, is a nutritious and versatile forage plant that has been used for centuries to feed livestock. This clover is a legume, which means it is a type of plant that can fix nitrogen from the air and enrich the soil. This makes it an excellent choice for farmers looking to improve the fertility of their fields, as well as for gardeners who want to create a sustainable, low-maintenance landscape.

One of the key benefits of birdsfoot clover is its high nutritional value. This clover is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, making it an ideal food source for livestock, including cattle, sheep, and goats. In addition, the leaves and stems of birdsfoot clover are highly digestible, making it a good choice for farmers looking to maximize their animals' nutritional intake.

Birdsfoot clover is also a hardy plant, able to thrive in a range of conditions, including drought, heat, and cold. It is a perennial plant, which means that it will come back year after year, and it is also resistant to disease and pests, making it a low-maintenance option for farmers.

In addition to its many practical benefits, birdsfoot clover is also a visually appealing plant, with delicate white, pink, or yellow flowers that bloom in the spring and summer. This makes it a great choice for landscaping and gardening, as it can add beauty and biodiversity to the landscape.

Birdsfoot clover is a versatile, nutritious, and beautiful plant that has a lot to offer. Whether you are a farmer looking to improve your livestock's nutrition or a gardener looking to create a sustainable landscape, birdsfoot clover is a great option to consider.

Another advantage of birdsfoot clover is its impact on soil health. As a legume, it is able to fix nitrogen from the air and add it to the soil, which helps to improve the overall fertility of the soil. This can result in healthier, more productive crops and improved soil structure, making it easier for water and air to penetrate.

In addition, birdsfoot clover is often used in rotational grazing systems for livestock. This involves moving animals from one pasture to another, allowing the plants in each pasture to recover and regrow before the animals return. This helps to prevent overgrazing and maintain the health and productivity of the pasture over time.

Another benefit of birdsfoot clover is its ability to help control weeds. This clover has a dense growth habit and its leaves shade the ground, which can help to reduce the growth of weed seeds. In addition, its deep root system can help to prevent erosion and improve soil stability.

Birdsfoot clover is also a valuable food source for wildlife, including deer, rabbits, and quail. Its delicate flowers are also attractive to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, making it an important plant for maintaining biodiversity in the landscape.

Birdsfoot clover is a valuable plant that offers a range of benefits, from improving soil health and controlling weeds to providing food for livestock and wildlife. Whether you are a farmer, gardener, or simply someone who values sustainability and biodiversity, birdsfoot clover is a great choice to consider.

In addition to its many benefits, birdsfoot clover is also easy to grow and manage. It can be planted in the spring or fall, and it is often mixed with grasses, such as fescue or bermuda, to create a well-balanced forage mix for livestock. When planting birdsfoot clover, it is important to prepare the soil well, by removing weeds and working in plenty of organic matter, such as compost or manure. This will help to ensure that the clover establishes itself quickly and thrives over time.

Another important aspect of managing birdsfoot clover is to ensure that it is not overgrazed. Livestock should be managed in a way that allows the clover to recover between grazing periods, and it may be necessary to move animals to another pasture or provide supplementary feed during times of heavy grazing pressure.

In terms of maintenance, birdsfoot clover is a low-maintenance plant that requires minimal care once it is established. It may be necessary to mow the clover once or twice a year to keep it from becoming too tall and woody, but otherwise, it should be a relatively care-free addition to your landscape or pasture.

Finally, it is worth noting that birdsfoot clover is a highly adaptable plant that can be found in many different regions of the world, from the southern United States to northern Europe. This means that it is a great option for farmers and gardeners in a range of climates and growing conditions.

In conclusion, birdsfoot clover is a valuable, versatile, and low-maintenance plant that has a lot to offer. Whether you are looking to improve soil health, feed livestock, or create a sustainable landscape, birdsfoot clover is a great choice to consider.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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