1. Wildlife
  2. Wildflowers
  3. Bird's-foot-trefoil

About

One of the more evocative names for Common Bird's-foot-trefoil is 'Granny's Toenails' which gives an instant, and perhaps not-so-pleasant, impression of the claw-like seed pods of this abundant and sprawling species. Other common names include 'Butter and Eggs', 'Eggs and Bacon', and 'Hen and Chickens' which refer to the egg-yolk yellow flowers and reddish buds. Widespread and found in all kinds of grassy places from lawns to downlands, roadside verges to heathlands, Common Bird's-foot-trefoil can be seen flowering from May to September.

How to identify

Common Bird's-foot-trefoil is a member of the pea family. Its yellow flowers look like little slippers and appear in small clusters. They are followed by seed pods that look distinctly like bird's feet or claws. A low-growing plant, its leaves have five leaflets and are downy.

Where to find it

Widespread.

Habitats

When to find it

  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many grassland and coastal habitats for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. Careful grazing with traditional breeds, hay-cutting at the right time and scrub clearance are just some of the ways these fragile habitats are kept in good condition - supporting wildflowers like Common Bird's-foot-trefoil and, in turn, invertebrates and the larger animals that prey on them. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too, and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.

Bird's-foot-trefoil

Lotus corniculatus

Species information

Common name
Bird's-foot-trefoil
Latin name
Lotus corniculatus
Category
Wildflowers
Statistics
Height: up to 35cm
Conservation status
Common.
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