Skip to main content
  1. Species/

Lotus corniculatus

Common Names: Bird's-foot Trefoil,
Lotus corniculatus
Lotus corniculatus

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Lotus
Species: Lotus corniculatus

Conservation Status

Identifying Features

Bird’s-foot trefoil is a clover-like plant that has three compound leaflets attached to a short stem. The flowers are yellow and pea-like, in clusters of three to six. They contain seed pods that appear to look like “bird’s feet”.

Habitat & Range

Bird’s-foot trefoil can be found along trail-sides and in fields. Though native in Europe, it was introduced in North America and can be found in many parts throughout Canada and the US.


Bird’s-foot trail has a sprawling growth pattern that can form dense mats, killing off other low-growing vegetation. However, it is a popular source of vegetation among animals as it can prevent bloating and is ideal for pasture grazing.

Life Cycle

Bird’s-foot trefoil flowers in the summer from June-September. Afterwards, the flowers form seed pods that germinate during cool temperatures in the spring and fall.

Featured image by James Dake.


Cercis canadensis
Eastern Redbud
Coronilla varia
Robinia pseudoacacia
Black Locust