Greater bird’s-foot-trefoil

One of the most beautiful plants of wet meadows. The greater bird’s-foot-trefoil is a perennial species that provides pollen and nectar to the wild bees – the miner bees, the leafcutting bees, and the mason bees.

Wild, non-cultivar seeds.

SKU: N092

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About the species

Polish name: muddy trefoil

Latin name: Lotus uliginosus Schkuhr syn. Lotus pedunculatus Cav.

Family : legume Fabaceae

Status in Poland: native and cultivated, moderately common, naturally rarer in high mountains, in Podlasie, and in Suwałki regions (north-eastern Poland)

perennial plant
Flower color:
about 50-80 cm


Greater bird’s-foot-trefoilis a permanent plant (perennial), often mistaken for common bird’s-foot trefoil.

It develops a strong taproot. It has hollow stems, branched, creeping on the ground or other plants, at best slightly rising. It develops the elongated pinnate compound leaves with five, curling at night, full-edge leaflets, more clearly veined underside as in the related bird’s-foot trefoils. The two lower leaflets, shifted towards the base of the peduncle, are either obliquely round or almost triangular. The three upper leaflets, on the other hand, have a reverse elliptical shape. The five leaflets are accompanied by two even smaller bracts.

The golden heads of this trefoil are entire the first-order inflorescences. 5-14 (most often more than 10) heads are concentrated in the umbellate second-order inflorescence. Single flowers are characterized by a structure specific to the legume family, i.e. they are bisexual, pectinate, with a calyx of five interconnected sepals (usually 5-7 mm long), and the corolla of also five overlapping petals of various structures (10-14 mm long). The upper petal of the corolla is transformed into a banner, the two side ones into wings, and the two lower petals of the crown form the so-called keel. In the case of a greater bird’s-foot-trefoil, the keel is rounded on its back, narrowing it into a spout. The calyx is characterized by almost linear, though tapering towards the apex, lanceolate, hairy teeth bending back before flowering. There is a distinct interstice between them. Another feature that distinguishes greater bird’s-foot-trefoil from similar, moisture-loving, yellow-flowering legumes will be a pistil with a neck without a thickening at the end, gradually narrowing towards the top.

The fruit is a pod typical for the family, in the case of this species it is twisted in a spiral when it ripens, round, protected by the remains of the calyx, 20-30 mm long.

Additional information


Greater bird’s-foot-trefoil is sown like other trefoils, i.e. about 8-15 kg of seeds per hectare, usually in mixtures with grasses and other small-seed legumes.

Requires light places, moderately or heavily moist with peaty soil and neutral reaction.

Interesting facts

So far, greater bird’s-foot-trefoil is sown primarily for green fodder.

Greater bird’s-foot-trefoil in seed mixtures:

Use Value

The greater bird’s-foot-trefoil is a species that is eagerly flown by bees, providing both pollen and nectar. It is suitable for apiaries and flower belts in waterlogged and / or flooded places in spring, even for about a month of time, where similar chamois like the hornbeam disappear rapidly. Nectarines all summer and early fall (sometimes until the end of September).

It is gaining popularity as a species sown for the protection of solitary bees, as it is visited, among others, by the miner bees Andrena, the leafcutting bees Megachile, the mason beesOsmia, and the Trachus sp. bees.

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