Scientific Name:
Lotus L., Sp. Pl. 773 (1753)
  • = Tetragonolobus Scop.
Type Taxon:
Vernacular Name(s):
Birdsfoot trefoil

Annual to perennial, procumbent to erect herbs or rarely subshrubs. Lvs pinnately 5-foliolate (rarely 4-foliolate but not in N.Z. spp.); leaflets entire; principal lateral veins conspicuous or not; stipules minute or 0. Infls axillary, usually umbellate, 1-many-flowered; bracts often 3-foliolate, subtending umbels; bracteoles usually 0. Calyx teeth 5, subequal or lower longer, rarely connate into 2 lips. Corolla deciduous. Vexillary filament free, the remainder connate; anthers uniform. Style glabrous; stigma terminal or lateral. Pod 2-valved, straight or slightly curved, dehiscent, not armed, many-seeded; seeds estrophiolate, smooth and rounded in N.Z. spp.

[From: Webb et al. (1988) Flora of New Zealand. Volume 4.]

Number of species in New Zealand within Lotus L.
Exotic: Fully Naturalised5
Exotic: Casual1
Linnaeus, C. 1753: Species Plantarum. Impensis Laurentii Salvii, Stockholm.
Mabberley, D.J. 2008: Mabberley's plant book, a portable dictionary of plants, their classification and uses. Edition 3. Cambridge University Press.