Summer flower 5: Bird’s foot trefoil

Bird’s foot trefoil has been blooming for a while. It is a legume so that it fixes nitrogen just like the white clover. Honey bees will forage on it frequently. Mostly observed for pollen, but you may also get some honey from this plant.

Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Lotus
Species: L. corniculatus
Other names:  eggs and bacon,bird’s-foot deervetch.

I will start to link to movies (if available) for bees foraging on the flowers. This one was shot June 22, 2020, using a Samsung cell phone (S9+).

1. I shot these the other day at Lansing, Michigan.

2. So next time when you mow your lawn, do not try to have that nice look by using an edger. This does not look bad and bees will appreciate!

3. 2005.6.18. My first shots of these flowers using a D70. Actually I may have some shots from my even older cameras. But unless I was meticulous in naming my files (obvious I did not), it is not easy to find all the photos of the same plant.

4. Same date.

5. 2015.7.4. That Independence Day I shot bees on this plant and also crown vetch. It was pretty hot that day. You cannot really tell these are from a D700 while the previous ones from a D70.  Camera quality matters little to image quality, but of course, D700 is easier to control (and can be cropped closer, so yes, more pixels will give you some advantages).

6. It looks as though the flowers do have nectar!

7. A bee in flight. Pollen is also dark grey just like the white clover.

8. Trying hard to such that nectar.

9. Two grasses crossing forming an interesting pattern behind the bee.

10. 2016.7.29. The most recent batch of Lotus corniculatus was two years ago.

11. The windmill effect is difficult to achieve, so here the wings are again fixed, but you can still see the pollen clearly.

ZBAS*: Zach’s Bee Attraction Score, this is not supposed to be scientific but just based on my many years of observation and bee-shooting with my cameras. It might vary with location and season.  0: bees will never visit. 10: bees are crazy for it.

Posted June 20, 2018
Updated July 10, 2020.

Author: Zachary Huang

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