The nomenclature of this taxon is very confusing. We are following the treatment in GRIN and others which recognizes two distinct species - Lotus pedunculatus Cav., with a range restricted to the Iberian Peninsular and neighbouring N. Africa, and Lotus uliginosus Schkuhr with a much more extensive range from Sweden to the Ukraine and south to Spain, Greece. And N. Africa. Some other authorities prefer to treat the two taxons as a single species, united under Lotus peduncularis with Lotus uliginosus reduced to synonymy[
Lotus decumbens Poir.
Lotus nummularius Rchb. ex Steud.
Lotus pedunculatus auct.
Lotus pedunculatus villosus (Lamotte) O.Bolòs & Vigo
Lotus uliginosus villosus Lamotte
Common Name: Greater Bird's Foot Trefoil
Lotus uliginosus is a herbaceous perennial plant growing from a creeping, rhizomatous rootstock; the ascending stems are 20 - 60cm long[
The plant is possibly harvested from the wild for local use as a pesticide. It is often used as a pioneer species to restore soil fertility, especially in wet and acid soils.
No reports of toxicity have been seen for this species but at least one member of the genus contains toxic cyanogenic glycosides[
Europe - Sweden, Britain to Portugal, east to Ukraine and Greece; Africa - Macaronesia, Morocco to Egypt
Marshes, ditches, freshwater margins and wet grassland[
]. Boggy meadows[
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Lotus uliginosus is a plant of the cold temperate to subtroical zones, where it is found at elevations up to 2,000 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 15 - 24°c, but can tolerate 3 - 28°c[
]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -10°c, but young growth is more tender and can be severely damaged at -5°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 700 - 900mm, but tolerates 350 - 1,400mm[
Grows best in a sunny position, but tolerant of light shade[
]. Grows well in most soils, preferring one of light to medium texture and moderate to poor fertility[
]. Grows well in poorly drained to wet soils, tolerating moderate salinity[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 8, tolerating 4.5 - 9[
Suitable for naturalistic and conservation plantings in situations that approximate to its natural habitat[
A good bee plant[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
This species is used as a pioneer plant in the reclamation of peat and pumice soils and on other wet acid soils that are unsuitable for the more commonly used Trifolium spp[
An insecticide is obtained from the plant[
]. No more details are given.
Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in situ in the spring or autumn. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 4 weeks at 15°c.
If seed is in short supply, it can be sown in pots in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in late spring or early summer.