Birdsfoot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) is also known as ‘Butter and Eggs’, ‘Eggs and Bacon’ or ‘Hen and Chickens’, this is due to the egg yolk yellow colouring with the red tinted buds and is a member of the Pea Family.
It is a perennial plant similar in appearance to some clovers with yellow/orange flowers. The flowers develop into small pea-like pods or legumes. The name ‘bird’s foot’ refers to the appearance of the seed pods on their stalk. There are five leaflets, but with the central three held conspicuously above the others, hence the use of the name trefoil.
The seed pods of this flower look like bird’s feet or claws and this is where the name Birdsfoot came from, whilst trefoil is the description of its leaves which are divided into leaflets. It is a low growing plant, whos leaves have 5 leaflets which have a downy texture.
Birdsfoot Trefoil can be identified from other common Lotus flowers, such as Greater Birdsfoot Trefoil, due to it being smaller in height, with light green foliage and a solid stem.
Birdsfoot trefoil can be distinguished from the other common Lotus, Greater birdsfoot trefoil, in having a smaller stature, lighter green foliage and a solid stem. It is mainly pollinated by insects such as bees and the larval food for both moths and butterflies, including 6 and 5 spot burnet and the common blue butterfly.
Height: Up to 30cm
Flowering Time: June to August
Preferred Conditions: Intolerant to high nitrogen and absent from damp or acidic soils.