Lotus corniculatus - L.
Garden Bird's-foot-trefoil
Other Common Names: bird's-foot trefoil
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Lotus corniculatus L. (TSN 26362)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.160883
Element Code: PDFAB2A080
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Pea Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Fabales Fabaceae Lotus
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Lotus corniculatus
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (13Oct2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (SNA), Arizona (SNA), Arkansas (SNA), California (SNA), Colorado (SNR), Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (SNA), District of Columbia (SNA), Idaho (SNA), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Iowa (SNA), Kansas (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Maine (SNA), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNA), Minnesota (SNA), Missouri (SNA), Montana (SNA), Nebraska (SNA), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New Mexico (SNA), New York (SNA), North Carolina (SNA), North Dakota (SNA), Ohio (SNA), Oklahoma (SNA), Oregon (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Rhode Island (SNA), South Dakota (SNA), Tennessee (SNA), Texas (SNA), Utah (SNA), Vermont (SNA), Virginia (SNA), Washington (SNA), West Virginia (SNA), Wisconsin (SNA), Wyoming (SNA)
Canada Alberta (SNA), British Columbia (SNA), Labrador (SNA), Manitoba (SNA), New Brunswick (SNA), Newfoundland Island (SNA), Nova Scotia (SNA), Ontario (SNA), Prince Edward Island (SNA), Quebec (SNA), Saskatchewan (SNA), Yukon Territory (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States ALexotic, ARexotic, AZexotic, CAexotic, CO, CTexotic, DCexotic, DEexotic, IAexotic, IDexotic, ILexotic, INexotic, KSexotic, KYexotic, MA, MDexotic, MEexotic, MIexotic, MNexotic, MOexotic, MTexotic, NCexotic, NDexotic, NEexotic, NHexotic, NJexotic, NMexotic, NYexotic, OHexotic, OKexotic, ORexotic, PAexotic, RIexotic, SDexotic, TNexotic, TXexotic, UTexotic, VAexotic, VTexotic, WAexotic, WIexotic, WVexotic, WYexotic
Canada ABexotic, BCexotic, LBexotic, MBexotic, NBexotic, NFexotic, NSexotic, ONexotic, PEexotic, QCexotic, SKexotic, YTexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Medium/Low
Rounded I-Rank: Medium
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Lotus corniculatus is used throughout the US as a forage crop and to enhance pasture. It is also planted along roadsides to prevent soil erosion. Qualities that make it effective at roadside revegetation are also qualities that allow it to invade and persist natural areas following disturbance(s). It can also encroach into adjacent natural areas without major disturbance. Once established, it can become dense, crowding out native species.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Low
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: High/Medium
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: Medium/Low
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Medium/Low
I-Rank Review Date: 29Jun2004
Evaluator: Fellows, M.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Europe (Gleason and Cronquist 1991), Africa, and Asia (GRIN 2001).

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: Established in meadows (Gleason and Cronquist 1991).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Low

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Fixes nitrogen, which allows it to colonize poor soils (Dixie and Swift 1996).

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Low significance
Comments: A perennial forb (Kartesz 1999). Can be dense (Randall and Marinelli 1996).

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Can reduce native species presence (Randall and Marinelli 1996).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Low significance
Comments: Reported to have alternatively a toxic or beneficial effect on sheep and cattle, but used widely as a forage crop. Has taken over areas normally occupied by Lotus scoparius and Lupinus variicolor in California (Kozak 1999).

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Widely established in meadows and disturbed habitats (Gleason and Cronquist 1991). Problematic in tall grass prairies (Randall and Marinelli 1996).

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: High/Medium

6. Current Range Size in Nation:High significance
Comments: Throughout US, although limited in the southeast. Not in HI or AK. (Kartesz 1999).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Inferred from: Although it is on several noxious weed lists (VA; NY; Humboldt County, CA; Pacific Northwest), it is always ranked low ("Occassional"; "Potential"; "Of Concern"; "Less Aggessive").

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:High significance
Comments: Potential to occur in more than 75% of the ecoregions in the contiguous US (inferred from Kartesz 1999 and TNC 2001).

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Low significance
Comments: A wetland plant (Kartesz 1999). Widely established in meadows and disturbed habitats (Gleason and Cronquist 1991). Problematic in tall grass prairies (Randall and Marinelli 1996).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: Medium/Low

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Gleason's (1952) distribution is less than half of current distribuion (Kartesz 1999).

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Low significance
Comments: (Kartesz 1999).

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High significance
Comments: Cultivated as a forage crop (Gleason and Cronquist 1991) and for erosion control (Randall and Marinelli 1996). For sale on the internet (as of 29 June 04; American Meadows 2003).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:Moderate significance
Comments: Can increase following disturbance: In one park, McNee Ranch State Park, it spread about 1 mile in 3 years (Kozak 1999). A seed catalog also warned of planting too many seeds, as it "tends to take over the whole meadow in a few years" (American Meadows 2003).

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Low significance
Comments: Germination is increased by fire (Randall and Marinelli 1996). Spreads beyond disturbed areas into more native species habitat (Kozak 1999).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Low significance
Comments: Present in Canada (Kartesz 1999). In Canada and native range, known from grasslands and disturbed areas (Dixie and Swift 1996).

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: Germination is increased by fire (Randall and Marinelli 1996). Natural reseeding is not a dependable method for forage production in the US (Nualsri et al. 1998). Does not form rhizomes (Nualsri et al. 1998).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Medium/Low

17. General Management Difficulty:Moderate significance
Comments: Taprooted (Gleason and Cronquist 1991) - may be difficult to hand pull. Prescribed burns increase seed germination (Randall and Marinelli 1996). Mowing every 3 weeks may control this plant (Randall and Marinelli 1996). Some herbicides are approved (Randall and Marinelli 1996).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Medium/Low significance
Comments: A seed bank is formed.

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Medium/Low significance
Comments: It is inferred that mowing, the preferred method, may stress native plants and prevent native plant reproduction, especially for annuals.

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Unknown
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • American Meadows. 2003. Online Catalog. Available ONLINE: http://www.americanmeadows.com. Accessed 2004.

  • Dixie, G. and M. Swift. 1996. 4 Birds Foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus). Wild flower Specification Manual. H.V. Horticulture. Dorset.

  • Gleason, H.A. 1952. The new Britton and Brown illustrated flora of the northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 3 volumes. Hafner Press, New York. 1732 pp.

  • Gleason, H.A., and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Kozak, C. 1999. Native Plants of Montara Mountain. ONLINE http:///www.plants.montara.com. Accessed 2004, February.

  • Meades, S.J. & Hay, S.G; Brouillet, L. 2000. Annotated Checklist of Vascular Plants of Newfoundland and Labrador. Memorial University Botanical Gardens, St John's NF. 237pp.

  • Nualsri, C., P.R. Beuselinck, J.J. Steiner. 1998. Rhizomatous Lotus corniculatus L.: III. Introgression of rhizomes into autogamous germplasm. Crop Sci. 38:503-509.

  • Randall, J.M. and J. Marinelli (eds.) 1996. Invasive plants: weeds of the global garden. Brooklyn Botanic Garden, New York.

  • The Nature Conservancy. 2001. Map: TNC Ecoregions of the United States. Modification of Bailey Ecoregions. Online . Accessed May 2003.

  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. 2001. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN). [Online Database]. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.URL: http://www.ars-grin.gov/var/apache/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?6438. (Accessed 2004)

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