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

Life form information

Height (cm): 40

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Distribution information

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%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

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)