|Austral Trefoil photos|
|Scientific Name:||Lotus australis|
|Native to all Australian States.|
Pink flowers of Austral Trefoil
Photo: A J Brown
Erect or ascending perennial herb to subshrub to 60 cm tall, hairless or with densely appressed hairs. Leaves are composed of 5 obovate to oblanceolate, leaflets, the lower two, 6-35 mm long and 1.-8 mm wide, clasping the stem and the upper three appearing clover-like, 8-35 mm long and 1-10 mm wide.
Flowers are white, pink, rose or purple in groups of 3-8 and 10-22 mm long. Fruit is a circular, almost hairless, pod, 2-5 cm long and 1.5-4 mm wide; the pods spreading to give the overall appearance of a bird’s-foot.
Scattered throughout Victoria in grassland, woodland and open-forest. Sometimes grows on the margins of salted lakes and therefore appears to have some salt tolerance.
There are a number of introduced Trefoils growing in Victoria, including Hairy Bird’s-foot Trefoil (Lotus suaveolens), Slender Bird’s-foot Trefoil (Lotus angustissimus), Greater Bird’s-foot Trefoil (Lotus uliginosus) and Bird’s-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus). Most of these species have good waterlogging tolerance. Trefoils can provide useful summer fodder for grazing animals. Austral Trefoil does have some natural plant compounds that can be toxic to livestock but breeding lines have been developed to reduce these toxins to acceptable levels.
Austral Trefoil leaves
Photo: A J brown