Lotus corniculatus

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaFabaceaeLotusLotus corniculatus


A perennial herb of grasslands, including well-drained meadows, chalk and limestone downs, hill pastures and montane rock ledges; also on coastal cliff-tops, shingle and sand dunes. It is absent from only the most acidic and infertile soils. Alien genotypes, introduced from seed mixtures, occur on roadsides. 0-915 m (Stuich an Lochan, Glen Lyon, Mid Perth).



World Distribution

Eurasian Southern-temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 4

Reaction (Ellenberg): 6

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 2

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 1

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.5

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.5

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1104

Height (cm): 40

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2801

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 975

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 14

Atlas Change Index: 1.09

Weighted Changed Factor: 11

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


JNCC Designations


Atlas text references

Atlas (110a) Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R
1988.  Comparative Plant Ecology. Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols. Jones DA, Turkington R
1986.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 163. Lotus corniculatus L. Journal of Ecology. 74:1185-1212. Meusel H, Jäger E, Weinert E
1965.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.
Turkington & Franco (1980)