Scientific Name: Lotus corniculatus

Common Name: bird's-foot trefoil

Other Common Names: birdfoot deervetch, birdsfoot trefoil, bloomfell, cat's clover, crowtoes, ground honeysuckle

Habit: 1-2 feet tall plant that flowers from May to September and creeps along the ground with stems that have many leaves and a tap root.

Leaves: Leaves have 5 elliptic, rounded or pointed leaflets, are rounded or pointed at the tip and taper to the base, have no teeth, are sparsely hairy, and up to 2/3 inch long and 1/3 inch wide. The first two leaflets are near the point of attachment and the other three are closer to the apex. Stems are erect or sprawling on the ground, branched, smooth/sparsely hairy, decumbent unless in fairly dense stands, and reach 20-40 or more inches in length.

Identifying Characteristics: Is identified from all members of the pea family by its 5 leaflets at the end of the petiole and 2 at the base. Also has head-like umbels of bright, yellow flowers. Once it sets seed, the pods look like a bird's foot.

Flower Seed Head: Several, 2/3 inch long, bright yellow or orange flowers, sometimes with red stripes, in head-like umbels with 5 sweet-pea shaped petals, bloom in the summer and fall.

Seed Fruit: Fruits are smooth, cylindrical pods that are up to 1 3/4 inches long and have the shape of a bird's claw.

Where Found: Found: Open ground, heaths, roadsides, old fields, and disturbed soil.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Milky sap: Not Present

  • Plant type: Herb

  • Thorns: Not Present

  • Plant family: Fabaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: alternate

  • Leaf shape: lance; oval

  • Ochrea: Not Present

  • Leaf margin: entire

  • Stem hairs: has hairs

  • Flower color: yellow; orange

  • Growth habit: upright and nonwoody

  • Stem: round or oval

  • Leaf structure: trifoliate

  • Leaf hairs: has hairs

  • Flower diameter: dime; pencil

  • Flower symmetry: bilateral symetry

  • Root structure: taproot

  • Leaf stalk: longer than leaf; shorter than leaf