Lotus alpinus (DC.) Ramond

“Small but beautiful” is the motto of this plant belonging to the Fabaceae family. Unlike its sister species from the lowlands, it remains small – but its flowers are just as impressive as those of its big “sister”.  

The Alpine Bird’s Foot Trefoil grows to a maximum height of 10 cm, but it usually remains much smaller. Its leaves are usually hairless and its flowers are often tinged with red when it grows at higher altitudes. The red keel tip is particularly striking in this species – but this can only be seen if you take a closer look at the flower.    

Facts and Figures

The flowers of the Alpine Bird’s Foot Trefoil create enchanting bright yellow splashes of colour in Alpine grassland. As a member of the Fabaceae family, it enters into a symbiotic relationship with nodule bacteria. These can fix the nitrogen from the air and ensure that this yellow dwarf plant is always well supplied with fertiliser, which allows this species to grow in nutrient-deficient soils in the Alps.  


The Alpine Bird’s Foot Trefoil is widespread in the Alps and is not particularly picky where it grows. It is common on the Gornergrat and can even thrive in soils with very low nutrient levels.   more information

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