Lupinaster macrocephalum Pursh
Trifolium megacephalum Nutt.
Common Name: Bighead Clover
Trifolium macrocephalum is an erect perennial plant with stems that become more or less woody; it can grow 10 -30cm tall. The plant spreads by means of its rhizomatous rootstock, forming a loose mat of growth[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Eating this plant can cause bloat, especially if larger quantities are consumed[
Western N. America - Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada
Dry, often rocky soils, usually amongst sagebrush or under yellow pine; at elevations from 600 - 1,650 metres[
Succeeds in a moist, well-drained circum-neutral soil in full sun[
]. Succeeds in poor soils.
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
]. Buttercups growing nearby depress the growth of the nitrogen bacteria by means of a root exudate[
Leaves - cooked and used as a greens[
]. Generally eaten before the plant comes into flower. Eating larger quantities can cause bloat - traditionally, the leaves were eaten with other foods that aid in digestion and therefore prevent bloating[
The plant grows well in an apple orchard, the trees will produce tastier fruit that stores better[
]. It should not be grown with camellias or gooseberries because it harbours a mite that can cause fruit drop in the gooseberries and premature budding in the camellias[
Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in spring in situ.
If the seed is in short supply it might be better to sow it in pots in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in late spring.
Division in spring.