birdsfoot trefoil
Lotus corniculatus L.


Lotus corniculatus is an invasive low-growing, perennial forb with stems that can reach 2 ft. (0.6 m) long.
Leaves are compound (with 5 oval to linear leaflets), stipulate and alternate. Leaflets (upper 3) are 0.5 in. (1.3 cm) long and less than 0.13 in. (0.3 cm) wide; the lower two resemble leaf-like stipules. Flowering occurs from May to August, when yellow, sweet pea-like flowers develop.
Flowers develop in clusters of 2-8 on a long peduncle (stalk).
Fruits are pods that occur in head-like clusters. Each pod is brown to black, cylindrical, 0.6-1.4 in. (1.5-3.5 cm) long, contains up to 49 seeds and has a persistent style at the apex.
Ecological Threat
Lotus corniculatus is native to Eurasia and North Africa and occurs in pastures, roadsides, wetlands, disturbed grasslands and riparian areas.


Selected Images


EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Genus: Lotus
Subject: Lotus corniculatus L.

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
birdfoot deervetch


Plants - Forbs/Herbs