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Which Birdsfoot trefoil?

Observed: 21st June 2013 By: Nick UptonNick Upton’s reputation in PlantsNick Upton’s reputation in PlantsNick Upton’s reputation in PlantsNick Upton’s reputation in Plants
Birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus)
birdsfoot trefoil close

This trefoil fits Common Birdsfoot trefoil for habitat - a chalk grassland slope - rather than Greater which prefers damp, acidic habitats; the low number of flowers per head also suggest Common; the size could fit either as it was around 30cm high (taller than Common usually is, shorter than greater usually is), but some posts suggest that if the sepals are recurved as I think these are, that makes it Greater (Lotus pedunculatus), so I'm wary of saying it's P. corniculatus... which was my initial ID. Any input/ species update welcomed...

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Common Bird's-Foot-Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) interacts


Chalkie's picture


Greater BFT tends to not have any red in the flowers, so the red buds would make it much more likely to be the common one. And in Greater, the sepals are reflexed in bud much more than this with the two top ones with an acute angle between them (obtuse angle for Common), but I don't think it's possible to see the sepals from the top in these pictures. Greater usually has hollow stems too (but some Common BFT can too) and is hairier.

Nick Upton's picture


Thanks Tim and Chalkie for the extra input and ID confirmation on this one.

Nick Upton, naturalist and photographer.