Birdfoot Trefoil

Birdfoot Trefoil

Lotus corniculatus

Other names: Birdfoot Deervetch, Bacon and Eggs (England), bloomfell, cat’s clover, crowtoes, ground honeysuckle

See the link below for the Connecticut Botanical Society – there’s a picture of the fruit, for which the “birdfoot” is named.

Family: Fabaceae

Range: It has been introduced to most of the US and Canada.

Native: Introduced
It’s considered invasive in areas of North America (US States are CA, IL, MN, MO, OR, TN, VA, WA, and WI) and Australia.

Native Habitat: Grasslands in Temperate Eurasia and North Africa.

Bloom Time: June to September


This is one of those flowers that people have probably seen all over the place, but never really looked at up close.    This time of year, this flower is all over the side of the road here in the city.    If you see a low-growing yellow flower spilling over curbsides, it’s probably this flower.

It is often used as forage and is widely used as food for livestock.     It’s also used as a groundcover, or for erosion control.   It survives close grazing, trampling, and mowing, and is often found in sandy soils.    (Again, perfect plant for roadside conditions.)

The plant grows to the height of the other surrounding plants, up to about 20 inches (it can be as little as 2).    This is easy to see at the side of the road – it definitely mirrors the height of whatever’s around it.

There is a double-flowered version in cultivation, and it’s wildly used in wildflower mixes is Europe.

The plant contains cyanide.

Locations in Photos:

My neighborhood roadsides

Scarborough Marsh, Scarborough, ME

Coastal Maine Botanical Garden, Boothbay, ME

Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth, ME

Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, NH

Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Newington, NH

Bennington Welcome Center, Bennington, VT


USDA Plant Profile

Plants for a Future

IMG_6122 scarborough marsh seeds

Updated 2/11/18 with pictures taken since the original published date, and to update tags.


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