Fenugreek

Trigonella foenum-graecum L.

Synonyms -

Family: Fabaceae

Names:

Trigonella is from the Greco-Latin trigonus meaning triangular and refers to the appearance of the flower
Foenum-graecum

Other Names:

Summary:

Fenugreek smells like curry when crushed and has trifoliate leaves on semi erect, reddish stems. Small, white to pink pea type flowers produce long, narrow, pointed, hairy pods. It is an annual.

Description:

Cotyledons:

Two. Oval. Tip round. Edges smooth, sometimes undulating. Base tapered. Short petiole. Veins prominent. Hairless.

First leaves:

First leaf single, oval. Tip indented or flat. Edges smooth. Base tapered. Petiole longer than blade.
Second and later leaves trifoliate.

Leaves:

Alternate.
Three leaflets (trifoliate) with the stalk of the central leaflet as long or longer than those of the side leaflets. Curry like aroma when crushed.
Stipules - Leafy, fused to petiole. Tapers to a point. Rarely toothed. Hairy.
Petiole - Longer than leaf blade. Hairy.
Blade - Of leaflets oval to club shaped. Tip pointed on early leaves, flat to indented on later leaves. Edges toothed near the tip. Base tapered. Side veins at 45 degrees to midrib and parallel.

Stems:

Erect, reddish, branched.

Flower head:

Groups (racemes) of 2-3 in leaf axils.

Flowers:

Small and white to light pink pea type.
Ovary - many ovules.
Calyx - 5 nearly equal teeth, bell shaped.
Petals - Standard gradually narrowed at the base. Keel blunt tipped shorter than standard. Wings blunt tipped shorter than standard.
Stamens - 10 with 9 joined and 1 free.
Anthers -

Fruit:

Slightly curved, long, flat pod tapering to a point. 2 compartments. Prominent veins. Hairy.

Seeds:

Yellow, dull, angular, grooved on one side, no aril. 5 mm long x 3 mm wide. Tip rounded. Edges smooth and convex. Base indented. Curry like aroma.

Roots:

Taproot.

Key Characters:

Trifoliate leaves.
Curry like odour when crushed.

Biology:

Life cycle:

Annual. Seeds germinate in autumn.

Physiology:

Reproduction:

By seed.

Flowering times:

Spring.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:

Hybrids:

Allelopathy:

Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Spread by seed.

Origin and History:

Mediterranean.

Distribution:

SA.
No herbarium records. Not recorded as being naturalised.

Habitats:

Climate:

Temperate.

Soil:

Plant Associations:

Significance:

Beneficial:

Fodder in Eurasia.
Herbal remedy used for breast enlargement due to its oestrogen conetent.

Detrimental:

Weed of crops and pastures.

Toxicity:

Not recorded as toxic.

Symptoms:

Treatment:

Legislation:

None.

Management and Control:

Rarely becomes a major weed in healthy crops or pastures.

Thresholds:

Eradication strategies:

Hand spray with 1 g of chlorsulfuron(700g/kg) plus 25 mL wetting agent in 10 L of water or boom spray with 20 g/ha chlorsulfuron(700g/kg) in autumn to early winter each year. Hand pull survivors in spring before seed set.

Herbicide resistance:

None reported.

Biological Control:

Related plants:

Trigonella ornithopodioides
Trigonella suavissima or Sweet Fenugreek is a native of desert areas in WA.
Trigonella monspeliaca

Plants of similar appearance:

Clover, Medics, Lotus, Lathyrus.

References:

Bodkin, F. (1986). Encyclopaedia Botanica. (Angus and Robertson, Australia).

Everist, S.L. (1974). Poisonous Plants of Australia. (Angus and Robertson, Sydney).

Harden, Gwen J. (1991). Flora of NSW. (Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney). Volume . P. Diagram.

Lamp, C. and Collet, F. (1990). A Field Guide to Weeds in Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne).

Lazarides, M. and Cowley, K. and Hohnen, P. (1997). CSIRO handbook of Australian Weeds. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #1015.1.

Moerkerk, M.R. and Barnett, A.G. (1998). More Crop Weeds. R.G. and F.J. Richardson, Melbourne. P95. Diagrams. Photos.

Acknowledgments:

Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.