Trifolium melilotus-ornithopodi (L.) Asch. & Graebn.
Common Name: Birdsfoot Fenugreek
Trifolium ornithopodioides is an annual to short-lived perennial plant that can grow 2 - 20cm tall[
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[
Southern and western Europe - Britain to Denmark, south to Portugal, Macedonia and Romania; N. Africa - Morocco, Algeria
Dry sandy and gravelly places in southern England, mainly near the coast[
Succeeds in a moist, well-drained circum-neutral soil in full sun[
]. In the wild plants are found in open habitats that are moist or wet in winter[
]. Plants are also likely to be resistant to maritime exposure. Succeeds in poor soils.
It 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[
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 - raw or cooked[
]. The dried leaves are coumarin-scented and have been suggested as a substitute for fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)[
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.