Hairy Birdsfoot Trefoil
New Zealand Status: Introduced
Conservation Status: Unknown
Lotus hispidus, commonly called Hairy Birdsfoot Trefoil, is a procumbent or ascending annual or perennial herb that grows to about 600mm high. The stems are sparsely to moderately pilose (covered with long soft hairs). The leaves are moderately to densely pilose; leaflets about 5mm to 20mm long and 3mm to 10mm wide, obovate to oblong (basal pair usually ovate), with no obvious lateral veins.
Flowers occur from Spring through Summer into Autumn in umbels of two to four yellow, or yellow with red markings, flowers 6mm to 8mm long. Peduncles up to 25mm long. Seed pods are 6mm to 15 mm long, 1.5mm to 2mm in diameter usually containing 6 to 12 yellow to brown seeds.
Lotus hispidus prefers sandy soils but occurs in a wide range of habitats from coastal to an altitude of about 700 metres. It has become a weed of grasslands, pasture, roadsides, wetlands,riparian areas and wasteland.
© Geografpix Photography, Steve Reader