BIRDSFOOT TREFOIL

Lotus corniculatus

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birdsfoot trefoil

Conservation Status

Green, least concern

Best Time to See

When it blooms, usually between May and September

Natural Habitat

Meadows, roadsides and other grassland areas

Also known as ‘eggs and bacon’ because of the yellow and orange hue of the pea-like flowers.

Although disagreeable to humans, bird’s-foot trefoil is an important source of food for other creatures. Pollinating insects find it a perfect source of nectar and it is used as a forage plant for livestock. The ‘bird’s-foot’ of its name refers to the shape of its seed pods.

Deep yellow flowers in clusters are often red-tinged. Leaves with 5 narrowly oval leaflets, the lower 2 bent back by the stem so that the leaves appear trefoil (3-lobed).

Distribution
Found across the UK.

Did you know?
The Victorian’s used flowers as a code to express hidden emotions. Some symbols of this “language of flowers” are still with us – for example, red roses are a well known emblem of true love. Bird’s-foot trefoil, however, was one of the few to denote darker thoughts: it symbolised revenge.

One of the more evocative names is ‘Granny’s Toenails’ which gives an instant impression of its claw-like seed pods.

www.plantlife.org.uk for more information

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