Lotus pusillus Viv.
Lotus villosus Forssk.
Common Name: Greater Bird's Foot Trefoil
Lotus halophilus is a herbaceous perennial plant growing 6- 12cm tall[
The plant is possibly harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
No reports of toxicity have been seen for this species but at least one member of the genus contains toxic cyanogenic glycosides[
Mediterranean - Italy, Greece, Crete, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel to the Arabian Peninsula
]. Common on sandy soils, dunes, wadis and sandy pockets in sandstone[
Lotus halophilus is a plant of the arid, warm temperate zone. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 15 - 24°c, but can tolerate 4 - 28°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 250 - 500mm, but tolerates 100 - 700mm[
Grows best in a sunny position, but tolerant of light shade[
]. It prefers a light-textured soil, but can tolerate most well-drained soils, fruiting best where fertility is either low or moderate[
]. Grows well in saline, sandy, seashore habitats[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 - 7.5, tolerating 6 - 8[
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[
]. No more details are given, but some caution is advised. See the notes above on toxicity.
Aqueous, ethanol and butanol crude extracts of the aerial parts of the plant were tested for antimicrobial activity. The butanol extract was the most effective, followed by the ethanol extract. The aqueous extract had low activity. The butanol extract at 2000 μg/disc had a very good antibacterial activity against both gram‐positive and gram‐negative bacteria as well as moderate to good antifungal activity against Candida albicans and Aspergillus flavus[
Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in situ in the spring or the 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.