Lotus corniculatus (birdsfoot deervetch, bird’s-foot trefoil, bloomfell, cat’s clover, crowtoes, ground honeysuckle, sheep-foot, hop o’my thumb, devil’s claw, poor-man’s alfalfa)

description:  herbaceous perennial

place of origin:  Eurasia, North Africa

urban habitat: commonly found in nutrient poor, sandy soils, at highway edges, vacant lots, rubble dumps, urban meadows, median strips; tolerant of roadway salt, drought and can thrive in full sun or partial shade.

ecological function: erosion control, food for wildlife, soil rejuvenation, forage for livestock.

history: Native to Europe and North Africa, Lotus corniculatus is said to have been introduced into North America around 1900. The plant can be poisonous when consumed in excess (contains hydrogen cyanide) although it has been used medicinally in the treatment of cancer, fevers, nervous disorders, skin inflammation, digestive problems, and asthma. An orange-yellow dye can be obtained from its flowers. Its common name refers to the bird’s foot appearance of its seedpods on their stalk.