Deciduous or evergreen shrubs, or perennials, with pea-like flowers. Leaves pinnate. A few are native to the UK, including the widespread L. corniculatus, birdsfoot trefoil, which feeds both common blue butterflies and six-spot burnet moths. Sometimes Lotus is referred to its old name of Dorycnium.

Not to be mistaken for the plants called lotus-flower in English (which is actually a water-lily, which of course is not a lily…such are the mysteries and delights of plant names!), Lotus species are legumes. As with all such species, they are insect-pollinated, with bees the main protagonists. Many are also valuable as larval foodplants.

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