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Birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)

Slightly poisonous


antispasmodic, sedative, antipyretic, hypoglycemic, anthelmintic

Areas of application:

Strengthens nerves in tense situations, anxiety, great mental exhaustion associated with sleep disorders, restlessness, inflamed eyes, swollen eyelids, gingivitis, inflammation in the mouth and throat, skin inflammation, as a heart tonic, wounds

Plant parts used:


Collection time:

May until October

To find:

On dry grasslands, fat meadows, on rainforests, forest edges and forest clearings up to 3000 meters altitude.


Flavonoids, hydrogen derivatives, tannins (tannins), protein


☕ Tea: Pour a small cup of boiling water over 1 g of flowers. To calm down, drink a maximum of two portions a day.

Bird's-foot trefoil is a perennial plant and can grow to heights of 5 to 30 cm. The stipules are obliquely egg-shaped and pointed, and the leaves are obovate to wedge-shaped. The underside of the leaves is bluish-green. The umbelliferous inflorescences have two to seven flowers and three small bracts at the base. The sepals are inclined together before flowering. The 15 mm long yellow corolla is often reddish on the outside. The boat is bent up at a right angle towards the tip. A special pumping mechanism is used to pollinate the flowers. The pollen is released while the flowers are still in bud. The club-shaped, swollen filaments form a piston that presses the pollen out of the flower if the boat and wings are loaded by an insect. This process can be repeated about eight times per flower. The flowering period is from May to September. The legume gave the species its German name. The pods are about 2 to 3 centimeters long and 2.5 to 4 millimeters wide and straight. They are maroon when ripe and their valves roll up after they burst open. (Wikipedia)

🛑 All parts of the plant are poisonous and contain cyanogenic glycosides (hydrocyanic acid). In small amounts, hydrocyanic acid has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion. It is also said to be helpful in treating cancer. However, in excessive amounts, it can cause respiratory arrest and even death. This species is polymorphic for cyanogenic glycosides. The flowers of some plant species contain traces of hydrocyanic acid, so the plants can become slightly poisonous during flowering. When dried, they are completely harmless.

There are around 150 species of Birdsfoot trefoil that are suitable for balcony or terrace planting. Birdsfoot trefoil is one of the forgotten plants in folk medicine. Caution is advised due to the hydrogen cyanide compounds they contain, they are not harmless!

The name Birdsfoot trefoil comes from the flower, which looks like a small horn and forces flower visitors to squeeze out the pollen. (in Germany)

In the kitchen, the flowers can be used as a beautiful decoration in salads and various dishes.

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