Common bird’s-foot trefoil, eggs and bacon, birdsfoot deervetch, just bird’s-foot trefoil

Herbs profile

  • Latin Name: Lotus corniculatus
  • Lotos: greek. designation of various clovery plants
  • Corniculatus: Latin horn, refers to the shape of the little boat in the flower
  • Family: Butterflyflowers/Fabaceae
  • Fodder type: Legumes
Common bird's-foot trefoil - Lotus corniculatus

Common bird’s-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)

The bird’s-foot trefoil , in Switzerland also Schotenklee called, belongs to the genus Hornklee (Lotus). Meadow clover is a perennial herbaceous plant.

The blue-green leaves are divided into three parts with stipules at their attachment point, which are designed in exactly the same way as the leaflets. This gives the impression of a five-part leaf. The yellow flowers are arranged in umbels and often overflow red on the outside. The bird’s-foot trefoil in particular has a special pollination mechanism: the pollen is pressed onto the visitor’s stomach by a kind of plunger. The pulses turn black as they ripen and burst open along a belly and back seam to scatter their seeds.

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Occurrence bird’s-foot trefoil

Due to its extensive root system, bird’s-foot trefoil is well adapted to drought, but also inhabits damp meadows and pastures. It has root nodules with symbiotic bacteria, which enable it to use additional nitrogen from the air. For this reason it is often sown as a good forage plant.

Effect bird’s-foot trefoil

The nectar of the flowers has a sugar content of up to 40 percent and is therefore particularly attractive for bees. The high tannin content in the plant can reduce flatulence in livestock.


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