Skip to main content

Birds-foot Trefoil

Lotus corniculatus

Known as ‘eggs and bacon’ because of the yellow and orange hue of the pea-like flowers, this is a food plant for several caterpillar species.

This is a low-creeping, perennial plant with clusters of deep, yellow flowers tinged with red. The leaves have five narrow oval leaflets and the lower two of these are bent back by the stem so that the leaves appear trefoil (3-lobed).

Although disagreeable to humans, Bird’s-foot Trefoil is an important source of food for other creatures. Pollinating insects find it a perfect source of nectar and it is used as a forage plant for livestock. The ‘Bird’s-foot’ of its name refers to the shape of its seed pods.

Where to find Bird’s-foot Trefoil

This is one of our most common meadow wild flowers and is found throughout the UK. It grows in meadows, roadsides and other grassland areas.

How’s it doing?

This wild flower is common through out the UK.

A ladybird climbing across a yellow Birds-foot Trefoil plant

Did you know?

  • The larval food plant for the Common Blue, Green Hairstreak and Dingy Skipper butterflies.
  • In the Victorian language of flowers, the Bird’s-foot Trefoil was one of the few to denote darker thoughts – it symbolised revenge.
  • One of its more evocative names is ‘Granny’s Toenails’ which gives an instant impression of its claw-like seed pods.

Other Species

Adder’s Tongue Spearwort

Adder's Tongue Spearwort

Ranunculus ophioglossifolius

Alexanders

Alexanders

Smyrnium olusatrum

Basil Thyme

Basil Thyme

Clinopodium acinos