Information on Common Bird's-foot-trefoil

Common Name: Common Bird's-foot-trefoil
Scientific Name: Lotus corniculatus
Irish Name: Crobh éin
Family Group: Fabaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Common Bird's-foot-trefoil could sometimes be confused with:

Bird's-foot-trefoil, Greater,

Also known as Bird's-foot Trefoil, this much loved little yellow pea-flowered perennial is a wildflower which brightens up roadsides, sandhills, stone-walls and most grassy places.  It is usually hairless with solid stems which carry an umbel of 2-7 flowers (each 10-16mm long) which are bright yellow, sometimes tinged or streaked with red or orange. Wasps, bees and butterflies are attracted to this plant which flowers from June to September. The leaves are alternate and pinnate. It is the distinctive seedpod which gives the plant its name. The seeds are contained in slender pods which when ripe resemble a bird's foot. This is the principal larval foodplant of the Common Blue Butterfly.  Bird's-foot Trefoil is a native plant and it belongs to the family Fabaceae.  

I first identified this plant in Roundwood, Co Wicklow in 1977 and photographed it in Allihies, Co Cork (1977), Cullenstown, Co Wexford (2000) and Glenmalure, Co Wicklow (2006) 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Bird's-foot-trefoil, Common
Bird's-foot-trefoil, Common

'Yellow with birdfoot-trefoil are the grass glades;
Yellow with cinquefoil of the dew-grey leaf;
Yellow with stonecrop, the moss-mounds are yellow;
Blue-necked the wheat sways, yellowing to the sheaf;
Green-yellow bursts from the copse the laughing yaffle;
Sharp as a sickle is the edge of shade and shine;
Earth in her heart laughs looking at the heaven,
Thinking of the harvest: I look and think of mine.'

George Meredith (1828-1909)     'Love in the Valley'