Bird's Foot Trefoil
Note the obtuse sinus separating the two upper calyx lobes.
The lengths of the leaflets and calyx lobes in this specimen are larger than what is required in the key to the species, and suggest that this specimen is L. pedunculatus. The presence of 7 flowers in the umbel would also support that identification. However, I concluded that the specimen is L. corniculatus, and explain the above as being the result of wet conditions in a river valley. In addition, Flora of the Great Plains describes this species as quite variable. This flora also states that the umbel may contain up to 8 flowers. The assignment of L. corniculatus is supported by the solid stem, the erect to incurved calyx lobes, and the obtuse sinus separating the two upper calyx lobes.
Note that the key to the genera in Budd's Flora requires:
- leaves palmately divided; NOT pinnately divided
- flowers usually solitary in the leaf axils; NOT in spikes, NOT in racemes
- flowers about 4 mm long; NOT 10-20 mm long
for members of the Lotus genus. However, neither of these is true for L. corniculatus. In this species the leaves are pinnate, the flowers are in an umbellate head, and each flower can be more than 10 mm long.
Corniculatus: Answers to key questions in Budd's Flora and Flora of Alberta leading to this species.
Lotus: Answers to key questions in Budd's Flora and Flora of Alberta leading to this genus.
Leguminosae: Answers to key questions in Budd's Flora leading to this family.