Common Bird's-foot-trefoil

Lotus corniculatus

Common Name:
Common Bird's-foot-trefoil
Scientific Name:
Lotus corniculatus
Flowering Plants
Family (Vernacular):
vetch and pea family
Family (Scientific):
Soil Moisture:
Star Rating:
Jun - Sep
5 - 15cm

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Species Description

Common Bird's-foot-trefoil is a native perennial growing 5-15 cm in height and flowers from June into September. This is plant has many beneficial attributes that make it a key species for invertebrate conservation in the UK.

Habitat Advice

A frequent and sometime abundant component of grasslands, including drier meadows, limestone grassland, hill pastures and rock ledges; also can be abundant on brownfield sites, roadside verges, coastal cliff-tops and sand dunes where it supports a wide range of localised invertebrates. It is absent from only the most acidic and infertile soils. It can fix Nitrogen and is suitable for light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure. An important food plant for many invertebrates and is an excellent bee plant, the flowers providing an important source of nectar. The flowers are powerfully scented, but are also capable of self-fertilisation. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.