There are several species of bird’s foot trefoil, the most common of which is common bird’s foot trefoil, Lotus corniculatus. It is a herbaceous perennial and member of the pea family, Fabaceae, that also includes lupine, mimosa, and locust. Native to Eurasia and the grasslands of Eurasia and North Africa, it was spread to the US and can be found coast to coast in areas with more than 20 inches of rain. Although bird’s foot trefoil is a good forage crop it can become weedy and is considered invasive in some areas. Plants have a well developed branching tap-like root system with side roots near the surface of the soil and grow two to three feet tall. Slender, well-branched stems carry smooth leaves with five leaflets. The yellow slipper-shaped flowers appear in in clusters from spring to early fall and give way to brown seed pods the look like a bird’s foot, hence the common name.
Meaning in the Language of Flowers: Revenge
I have one penance for contemning love;
Whose high imperious thoughts have punished me
With bitter fasts, with penitential groans,
With nightly tears, and daily heart-sore sighs;
For, in revenge of my contempt of love,
Love hath chased sleep from my enthralled eyes,
And made them watchers of mine own heart’s sorrow. Shaks.
Alas! that love, so gentle in his view,
Should be so tyrannous and rough in proof. Id.
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