Spotted Burclover

Biological Name:

Medicago truncatula (Spotted-Burclover)

Natural Habitat:

Spotted-Burclover: The spotted-burclover grows in areas with warm, dry conditions, such as fields and roadsides. It is commonly found in North America.


Spotted-Burclover also known as Medicago is a plant that is native to grassland and prairie regions of North America. It is an annual herb that can grow up to two feet tall and it has small oval-shaped leaves and small yellow or white flowers that bloom in the summer. The plant is known for its distinctive spotted leaves and it is often used as a forage crop for livestock.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Is Spotted Medick edible?
A: Medicago arabica, spotted medick or burclover, is easy to recognize because of the dark red blotch on each leaflet. The spot is anthocyanin, the same flavonoid that gives foods such as blueberries their color. But M. arabica is not edible.

Q: Are Pseudopanax poisonous?
A: Five finger or whauwhaupaku (Pseudopanax arboreus). This very common plant is likely to be poisonous to some degree because it belongs to the ivy family, however no records of poisoning are available. It has blackcurrant sized berries.

Q: Are trollius poisonous?
A: Is Trollius ‘Dancing Flame’ poisonous? Trollius ‘Dancing Flame’ has no toxic effects reported.

Q: Is Spotted Medick a clover?
A: Superficially similar to Clover, the leaves of Spotted Medic are broader and more heart shaped, short–toothed stipules near the apex, with dark red almost brown spots to the leaf centre whereas Clover leaves are narrower and more pointed with a white banding which is more prominent in Red Clover Trifolium trifolium …

Q: Can you eat Woodland Bittercress?
A: Don’t be fooled by the common name—its flavor is mild and peppery, not bitter. Though the flowers can be tough to chew, the tender leaves are suitable for a chic microgreens salad and have tons of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, beta-carotene, and antioxidants. Cardamine hirsuta(hairy bittercress).

Q: Is Spotted knapweed poisonous to humans?
A: Toxicity: Not known to be toxic to animals or human, but all knapweeds contain carcinogens, so it is best to wear gloves when pulling more than one plant.

Q: What is spotted knapweed good for?
A: Spotted knapweed is able to outcompete other plants by exuding a toxic chemical from its roots. This allows it to establish and spread quickly to colonize vast acreages. Infestations decrease forage, wildlife habitat, plant diversity and recreational quality yet increase soil erosion.

Q: Is bur clover edible?
A: Edible Uses: Leaves and young shoots – raw or cooked as a potherb[2, 179, 183]. Only the young leaves are eaten raw[177]. Plants can be harvested on a cut and come again basis, the first harvest can be made about one month after sowing, plants can then be harvested another 3 – 4 times at intervals of a few weeks[206].

Q: Is clover toxic to humans?
A: While wild clover is considered poisonous to humans in large quantities, in small quantities, clover is both edible and potentially beneficial to your health.

Q: What happens if you eat clovers?
A: Clovers are rich in health-promoting isoflavones and polysaccharides, and they are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and iron.

Q: Which clovers are poisonous?
A: Clover toxicity is caused by ingestion of alsike clover (Trifolium hybridum) or red clover (Trifolium pratense), resulting in signs of photosensitivity and liver failure.

Q: Are clovers poisonous to dogs?
A: A: All clovers have been noted as being potentially poisonous to pets if they constantly graze. Chemicals used on grass are also harmful.

Q: What is bur clover used for?
A: Burclover is a good forage for livestock, but the fruit is prickly. All classes of livestock, except horses and mules, can feed its leaves. New seedlings have seed leaves that are oblong.

Q: Can you eat clovers that grow in your yard?
A: Clovers (Trifolium species), identifiable by their trefoil leaves, can be found on lawns pretty much everywhere, Adams said. They’re edible from root to blossom, and you can eat them raw, boiled and even sauteed.

Q: Where is bur clover native to?
A: Large bur clover and small bur clover are native to Europe but brought to the States as grazing material (fodder crop) for cattle. Large bur clover can grow from 6—22 inches and has flower clusters consisting of 3—5 flowers, bloom- ing in early spring.

Q: Is bur clover invasive?
A: If not properly managed, burclover may then become invasive and displace more desirable vegetation. Being a member of the family Fabaceae, the flowers are clover-like, lipped and clustered.

Q: Are clover lawns invasive?
A: Clover is an invasive grower because the roots spread out far and fast. The roots can even creep over edging and enter into your gardens. If you overseed your lawn with clover it can look patchy, while an all clover lawn can look lumpy and uneven.

Q: How do I get rid of a Burclover?
A: “If you choose to use a post-emergence herbicide, do so when the bur clover is actively growing. Apply a broadleaf lawn herbicide containing a combination of 2,4-D and MCPP or triclopyr as its active ingredients late May or early June. More than one application may be necessary.

Q: Why do farmers plant clover in their fields?
A: Organic farmers plant clover to improve soil quality and reduce the need for artificial fertilizers. Livestock owners grow it to provide nutrient-dense forage for grazing animals. Gardeners seed it into their lawns to attract beneficial insects.

Q: What wildlife does clover attract?
A: Quail, grouse, wild turkey, partridge, marmot, and woodchuck (especially when alfalfa is in short supply), prefer leaves, seeds, and sometimes the whole plant. Songbirds eat clover seeds. Small animals such as squirrels, mice, and gophers enjoy flower pods and foliage, and deer browse on the entire plant.

Q: Where does clover grow best?
A: The most commonly used perennial clovers in the United States are white clover and red clover. These clovers can be grown throughout much of the nation (especially in the Midwest, Northeast, and Northwest) in areas in which there is a suitable soil pH, adequate fertility, and good soil moisture during most of the year.

About the author

Samuel is a gardening professional and enthusiast who has spent over 20 years advising homeowners and farm owners on weed identification, prevention and removal. He has an undergraduate degree in plant and soil science from Michigan State University.