Tag Archives: Lotus corniculatus

Shepherd’s Warning

It wasn’t a good day to be a shepherd. It wasn’t a good day to be anything really.

It started off very nicely.

SunriseThen the sky turned black and the rain started. It was a very short day anyway and now it is night and gales are buffeting the farm and the rain is pounding against my windows.

I am all cosy indoors but all of my little animals are living out there and it is just another winter’s night.

I wrote about Bird’s-foot Trefoil today and I will show you that in a bit, first I thought we could look at some moths. I would have liked to put more into my flower post but that was supposed to be about flowers.

Day flying moths, some of them are just as pretty as the butterflies.

This is a Speckled Yellow moth (Pseudopanthera macularia). It’s caterpillars feed on Wood Sage and it is common in open woodland.

Speckled YellowThis next beauty is a Green Silver-lines (Pseudoips prasinana). Another woodland moth, this one favours Oak and Birch trees.

Green Silver-lines

Green Silver-linesThis next one isn’t a moth at all, yet but it will be. It looks a bit like an old Birch catkin.

Scalloped Hook-tipThis is the caterpillar of a Scalloped Hook-tip Moth ( Falcaria lacertinaria) and it feeds on Birch, naturally.

Scalloped Hook-tipThis next one is called a Silver Y moth (Autographa gamma) , try and guess Y.

This is a summer visitor arriving in the UK from May onwards it comes from Southern Europe. It  is not a fussy eater, Bedstraws, Nettles, Clovers, it also likes Peas and Cabbage.

Silver Y

Silver YIf we have another day like today then I will post more moths tomorrow. Here are my flowers.

Lotus corniculatus, The Bird’s-foot Trefoil.

Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus) Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus)   Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus)   Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus)This is a flower of grassland. It grows in meadows and on heaths in forest rides and if you are very lucky, in your garden.

Bird’s-foot Trefoil is very variable in size. Amongst short grass the small flowers may be just inches off the ground.

Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus)In long grass it can grow to about twenty inches. It seems to be able to flower at whatever height the surrounding plants are rising to.

Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus)In many parts of the world Bird’s-foot Trefoil is grown as an animal fodder and I read that it can yield up to four tons of hay per acre. That is difficult to comprehend when you see the tiny flowers growing in short cropped grass.

The name Bird’s-foot comes from the seed pods which are claw like and resemble a Bird’s foot. Another popular name for this plant is Granny’s Toenails.

Bird's-foot Trefoil seed pods (lotus corniculatus) Bird's-foot Trefoil seed pods (lotus corniculatus)   Bird's-foot Trefoil seed pods (lotus corniculatus)   Bird's-foot Trefoil seed pods (lotus corniculatus)The Trefoil part of the name is a reference to the leaves. Each leaf is actually made up of five leaflets but two of these are at the base of the mid rib and the remaining three form the trefoil at the end of the leaf.

Bird's-foot Trefoil leaves (lotus corniculatus)New buds continually form and grow from the centre of existing leaves, which makes it difficult to study the form and shape of the plant.

Bird's-foot Trefoil leaves (lotus corniculatus)It has a squarish stem.

Bird's-foot Trefoil leaves and stem (lotus corniculatus)It also has a very deep tap root (up to three feet deep) that allows it to thrive on poorer soils.

Bird’s-foot Trefoil is a very important wildlife plant and as such a wonderful addition to any garden. It is especially valuable as a larval food plant for many of our most beautiful Moths and Butterflies including the Dingy Skipper, Green Hairstreak, Silver Studded Blue and these Common Blues.

Common Blue on Bird's-foot Trefoil Common Blue on Bird's-foot Trefoil   Common Blue on Bird's-foot Trefoil   Common Blue on Bird's-foot TrefoilAmongst the Moths it is a larval food plant for the Six-spot Burnet and for this next one the Burnet Companion.

Burnet Companion on Bird's-foot Trefoil

Burnet Companion on Bird's-foot TrefoilThe Bird’s-foot Trefoil is a member of the Pea family, known as the Fabaceae and sometimes by the older name of the Leguminosae.

It is native to the UK, Eurasia and North Africa.

Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus) Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus)   Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus)   Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus)

Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus)

Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus)

Taxonomy:

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Fabales

Family: Fabaceae

Genus: Lotus

Species: Lotus corniculatus

Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus)Wildflowers in winter.

Granny’s Toenails

Granny’s Toenails, well you may know it better as Lotus corniculatus or Bird’s-foot Trefoil. It is flowering in the fields behind the farm right now.

Bird's-foot Trefoil
Bird's-foot TrefoilThe name “Bird’s-foot” and indeed “Toenails” comes from the shape of the seed pods which bear a striking resemblance to Great Grandma Hewit’s left foot and resemble some birds feet as well.

Bird's-foot TrefoilCertainly if I was going to introduce a child to this flower for the very first time then I would introduce it as Granny’s Toenails, flowers should be fun.

Eggs and Bacon is another good name if there are no seed pods yet, more fun than Bird’s-foot Trefoil. The buds are quite red and that often carries on to the flower giving you the bacon part of your breakfast.

Bird's-foot Trefoil

Bird's-foot Trefoil

Bird's-foot Trefoil

Bird's-foot TrefoilIt is a member of the Pea family (Fabaceae) and it is in flower from now (and a bit earlier) until the end of September.

That is my account of the very beautiful wildflower Lotus corniculatus.

Bird's-foot Trefoil

Bird's-foot Trefoil

Bird's-foot Trefoil

Bird's-foot Trefoil