Lotus corniculatus

Bird's foot trefoil

Reader rating

From 2 ratings

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Key information

Plant type

Native perennial

Flower colour



Flowers, Attractive to wildlife



Skill level


photo by bbc.co.uk/gardening
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Plant details

This spreading native perennial is normally found in grasslands. It has bluish-green, divided leaves. In spring and early summer, attractive double yellow, pea-like flowers appear, followed by black peapods of about 2.5cm. This species is ideal for a wildlife garden. Its height varies, from 5cm to 20cm, but stems can grow up to 50cm. The plant has a deep, branched root system and tolerates both wet and moderately dry conditions.

Family: Papilionaceae/Fabaceae

Genus: Lotus

Species: corniculatus

Plant type: Native perennial

Flower colour: Orange

Foliage colour: Grey

Feature: Flowers, Attractive to wildlife

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Chalky/alkaline

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 30cm

Spread: 45cm

Time to plant seeds: March to April

Flowering period: May to August

Reader reviews


I have many of these in two built up beds which I am using for the butterflies and bees. With the birdsfoot trefoil I have a lavender bush at either end of the bed. Wild marjoram and wild thyme, clover which i have potted and sunk in the bed, parsley and mint potted and sunk in the bed, and cowslips. They all look great and are just coming back to life. The bees and butterflies absolutely love them all. Fascinating to watch, but not much gardening get done.

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