We learned to call it Bird's Foot Trefoil, but it's also called Deervetch.
Regardless of what name it goes by, I passed by these dainty yellow flowers on a walk to the creek last week and was instantly transported to our time in the North Woods. Before we had kids, before we were married, before we were engaged, before we were dating, before we were friends. We were all of those things Up North before we lived in BearCountry. We lived and breathed the great outdoors. Wildflowers like Bird's Foot Trefoil, Showy Ladyslippers, Indian Paintbrush grew in the sunny spots along the edges of red and white pine forests. The land was rugged, but it was the water that made Voyageurs National Park so special. One third of the 218,054 acres that makes up Voyagaurs National Park is water. With less than 6 miles of roads in the entire park we had to learn to navigate not by road signs, but by islands. There were over 500 of them. Needless to say I was lost much of the time. Thankfully while I was surrounded by all that beauty (and water!) I met and fell in love with the man I would later marry! He loves maps and knows how to read them!
It has been eight years since we witnessed the bird's foot trefoil blooming Up North, but we unwrap those special memories of the early days of our relationship and marriage every time those little yellow petals begin to color the landscape down here.
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For fun here are some interesting tidbits I found about trefoil from Wikipedia:
It is used in agriculture as a forage plant, grown for pasture, hay, and silage. Taller growing cultivars have been developed for this. It may be used as an alternative to alfalfa in poor soils. It has become an invasive species in some regions of North America and Australia.
A double flowered variety is grown as an ornamental plant. The plant is an important nectar source for many insects and is also used as a larval food plant by many species of Lepidoptera such as Six-spot Burnet. It is regularly included as a component of wildflower mixes in Europe. Fresh birdsfoot trefoil contains cyanogenic glycosides and is thus poisonous to humans.
The plant is one of the few flowers in the language of flowers that has a negative connotation, symbolizing revenge or retribution.