Birdsfoot Trefoil

March 15th, 2012

Latin:  Lotus corniculatus

Irish:  Crobh éin


This is a native perennial is a wildflower that brightens up roadsides and most grassy places from June with its yellow pea-like flowers.  Like peas and clovers, it is a legume and like the majority of legumes it has the ability to extract nitrogen from the air and can, thus, flourish witout any application of organic or artificial nitrogen fertilizer.


It has a solid, spreading stem that is usually hairless and carries an umbel of 2-7 flowers (each 10-16mm long) that are bright yellow, sometimes tinged or streaked with red or orange.

This combination of colours explains how “Bacon and Eggs” came to be adopted as a common name for this species in England.

It is the distinctive seedpod which gives the plant its more usual common name. The seeds are contained in slender pods which when ripe resemble a bird’s foot.



Wasps, bees and butterflies are attracted to this plant which flowers from June to September and is the principal larval foodplant of the Common Blue, Clouded Yellow and Dingy Skipper butterflies.

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