E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Lotus tenuis Waldst. & Kit. ex Willd.
narrow-leaved birds-foot trefoil
Fabaceae (Pea family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© David Badke  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #75148)

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Distribution of Lotus tenuis
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a taproot and branching stem-base; stems spreading to ascending, 25- 90 cm long, slender, wiry, often branched, glabrous or sparsely appressed-hairy at the nodes.
Alternate, unstalked, pinnately compound; leaflets 5, unstalked, linear-lanceolate to narrowly egg-shaped, tapering to a pointed tip, the lowest pair of leaflets basal and stipule-like; stipules represented by tiny dark glands.
Inflorescence a compact, stalked, axillary umbel of 4 (to 7) pea-like flowers, the umbel-stalks slender, 4-12 cm long, with a 1- to 3-parted bract below the umbel; corollas yellow, about 10 mm long; calyces about 5 mm long, the awl-shaped teeth usually shorter than the tube.
Pods, narrowly cylindric, 1.5-3 cm long, spreading or nodding, glabrous; seeds up to 20.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry grassy meadows, clearings and roadsides in the lowland and steppe zones; rare on S Vancouver Island and in SC BC; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References