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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

13 February, 2017

Birdsfoot Clover: a parking find

This is a flower I never new existed until I bought a book of wildlife walks in Dorset which describes several walks and provides a species list for each. Looking at the walk at Abbotsbury I saw, along with four other species I had never seen, the birdsfoot clover (Trifolium ornithopodiodes). Not surprisingly, perhaps, at the first opportunity I was there looking for it!
Birdsfoot clover is a low, prostrate plant sprawling across the ground; It likes dry, bare, sandy places that are wet in winter yet parched in summer. Usually found near the sea, mainly along the southern coasts of England and in to Wales, it has a particular fondness for car parking areas (obviously not tar-maced ones!). I do not think it is common anywhere. There are two forms, white and pink, and my specimen was going over when I found it but I think it was probably the white variant. It flowers in June and July and then goes to seed with the seed heads vaguely resembling bird's feet so hence the name. It is also known as fenugreek.
The leaves are edible but you would need a lot of hem to make a meal! It does not seem to be of particular interest as a herbal remedy for anything.
Birdsfoot Clover: a parking find