Crobh éin

Catherine Seale

Bird foot trefoil
Cathy Seale 2017

Common Name: Bird’s-foot-trefoil

As Gaeilge: Crobh éin

Scientific Name: Lotus corniculatus

Identification Tips: A creeping perennial[1] with bright yellow pea like flowers, borne in clusters of up to eight flowers. It can grow up to 40cm in meadow habitats but it is usually much smaller in stature when present in regularly mowed lawns and verges.

Flowering: From about June to September


A Bit More About Bird’s Foot Trefoil

There are two types of Bird’s foot trefoil native to Ireland; Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil and Greater Bird’s-foot-trefoil. The one you are most likely to be see in Woodlawn Woods is Common Bird’s Foot Trefoil. Bird’s foot trefoil is member of the pea plant family. This connection is especially understandable if you take the time to notice the seed pods when the plant has finished flowering. These pods as the name suggests are a bit like a bird’s claw.

Food Source

Birds-foot-trefoil is not palatable to humans but it does serve other members of the animal kingdom well. It is a food plant to the Common Blue Butterfly, the Dingy Skipper and the Green Hairstreak. In the summertime, Bird’s-foot-trefoil will usually be buzzing with nectar visits from bees, butterflies and other insects. The plant is also sometimes added to fodder mixes for livestock. Because Bird’s-foot-trefoil is a legume, this plant has the ability to fix nitrogen from the air, an action which helps to improve the fertility of the soils in which it resides.

[1] A perennial plant is a plant that lives for more than two years. The term is often used to differentiate a plant from shorter-lived annuals and biennials.

This page was added on 13/03/2018.

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