Lotus uliginosus Schkuhr Greater Lotus
Bot.Handb. 2:412-413 (1796)

Conservation Code: Not threatened
Naturalised Status: Alien to Western Australia
Name Status: Current

Brief Description
Amanda Spooner, Friday 17 August 2007

Erect or ascending perennial, herb, 0.1-0.5 m high. Fl. yellow, Nov to Dec or Jan to Mar. Grey sandy loam, mud, black sand, clay loam. Swamps, creeklines, disturbed & cultivated areas, road verges.


Beard’s Provinces: South-West Province.

IBRA Regions: Avon Wheatbelt, Jarrah Forest, Swan Coastal Plain, Warren.

IBRA Subregions: Avon Wheatbelt P2, Northern Jarrah Forest, Perth, Southern Jarrah Forest, Warren.

Local Government Areas (LGAs): Albany, Augusta Margaret River, Bayswater, Bridgetown-Greenbushes, Busselton, Cockburn, Denmark, Donnybrook-Balingup, Kalamunda, Manjimup, Narrogin, Perth, Plantagenet, Serpentine-Jarrahdale.

Scientific Description
C. Hollister and K.R. Thiele, Wednesday 21 October 2020

Prostrate,spreading or scrambling, herb. Stems terete, not spiny, glabrous; pustules or glands absent. Leaves or phylloclades clearly present, alternate, continuous with stem, 10-40 mm long, glabrous, flat with flat margins; margins entire; tubercles absent, leaflets 5, palmately arranged, terminal leaflet absent, sessile; pustules or glands absent. Stipules apparently absent even from the youngest leaves or present but early deciduous ( only visible on youngest leaves ). Pedicel present, 0.5-1 mm long, hairy. Bracteoles present and persistent. Calyx 7-8 mm long, not accrescent, hairy, with simple hairs, ribless; pustules or glands absent. Corolla 11-15 mm long, uniformly coloured, yellow; standard 12-13 mm long, glabrous, not auriculate, wings 11-12.4 mm long, auriculate, keel 12-14 mm long, not beaked, not auriculate, glabrous. Stamens ten, at two different levels (filaments alternately long and short); filaments united in an open sheath with one free stamen, 9-10.5 mm long. Ovary sessile or subsessile, glabrous; style 12.3-15 mm long, glabrous, not bearded, terete. Fruit dehiscent (a pod or follicle), 20-30 mm long, 1.5-2 mm wide, sessile or subsessile, not constricted between the seeds, round in cross-section, glabrous, not beaked. Flowers in January, February, March, November and December. Occurs in the South-West Botanical Province, in the Avon Wheatbelt, Jarrah Forest, Warren and Swan Coastal Plain IBRA regions.

Management Notes (for the Swan NRM Region)
Kate Brown and Karen Bettink, Monday 26 August 2019

Alternative Names. Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil, Big Trefoil.

General Biology. Growth form. Herb. Life form. Perennial. Reproduction. Seed, rhizomes. Dispersal. Water, soil. Fire response. Fire is unusual in its habitat, however plants survive and resprout from rhizomes.

Notes. Weed of highly disturbed areas. Naturalised in the US and Australia. Develops extensive rhizomes. Tolerant of acidic soils, waterlogging and flooding. Has a low drought and salinity tolerance. Moderately shade tolerant. Has high levels of hard (dormant) seeds. Most germination occurs in autumn during warmer temperatures. Grows throughout spring and autumn but peak growth occurs in summer.

Additional information. Origin. Northern Africa, Europe. History of use/introduction. Animal forage.

Suggested method of management and control. Spot spray Lontrel® at 10 ml/10 L + 25 mL wetting agent. Read the manufacturers' labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. For further information consult the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to determine the status of permits for your situation or state.

Management Calendar

Calendar Type Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Comments
Germination       Y Y Y              
Active Growth Y Y Y Y Y       Y Y Y Y  
Flowering Y Y Y               Y Y  
Fruiting Y Y Y                    
Herbicide Treatment Y Y               Y Y Y  

Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.



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  • Balocchi, O.A. & Phillips, C.J.C. (1997) The morphology and development of Lotus uliginosus and Trifolium subterraneum under Pinus radiata canopy in southern Chile. Agroforestry Systems, 37 (1): 15-26.
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  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program (2009) Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN). National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. URL: https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx - Accessed October 2009.

Project information and acknowledgements