Common Bird’s-Foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)

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Lotus corniculatus belongs to the Fabaceae Family.  It is a variable species, which can be found in many different regions (1). It is a hairy or hairless perennial, with leaves which are pinnately compound.  The leaflets are lanceolate to suborrbicular (not as wide as it is long) in shape (2). The flowers have long-stalked heads with two to seven flowers. The flowers are mainly yellow, but some can have red and yellow flowers on the same plant.  The flowers are bell-shaped.  The fruit is called a pod, which is narrow and flattened (2). Formerly Common Bird’s-Foot Trefoil was widely grown for fodder (3).

Life Cycle

Bird’s-Foot Trefoil is a perennial plant that flowers from May to September (1).


It is found in mountainous areas (2), in fields and on roadsides (3). It is also found in cultivated areas (1).


Lotus corniculatus is found in Europe and in Asia (3). It is also found in northern and eastern Africa (4).

Conservation status

It is not mentioned on the IUCN Red List (5).


Description translated by Stella Ioannou (2009)

1)      Γ.Π. Σαρλής, (1999), Συστηματική Βοτανική-Εφαρμογές Κορμοφύτων, εκδ. Σταμούλη

2)      Γ. Σφήκας, (1999), Αγριολούλουδα της Κρήτης, εκδ. Efstathiadis Group

3)      Blamey. M., and Grey-Wilson. C. (1993) Mediterranean Wild Flowers, Harper Collins Publishers, London

4) [date accessed: 19/08/2009]

5)      IUCN (2009) IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [online] Available: [date accessed: 19/08/2009]