Diagnostic features of the pea family (generally):
- Usually compound pinnate or trifoliate leaves.
- Unique flower structure: 5 sepals fused into tube, 5 free petals – upper standard, 2 wings on either side enclosing keel formed from 2 lower inner petals. 10 stamens within keel – lower 2/3 of all or sometimes all but one fused into tube surrounding carpel.
- Leaves have mucronate tips and are downy.
- Flowers/fruit-heads stay upright once flowering has finished.
|Black Medick (Medicago lupulina).|
- Leaves have no mucronate tips are are mostly hairless.
- Flowers/fruit-heads droop down once flowering has finished.
|Lesser Trefoil (Trifolium dubium).|
Diagnostic features of Lotus corniculatus:
- Yellow flowers with orange/red tinge – red buds.
- Trifoliate leaves but with extra leaf pair at base of stalk.
- Hairless oval leaves.
- Solid stems.
- Sepal points are erect, not reflexed as in L. pedunculatus (another very similar species).
|Bird's-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus).|
|Start of the pea key!|
|Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca).|
Then just for fun I also found two more pea family members!
|Grass Vetchling (Lathyrus nissolia).|
|Hop Trefoil (Trifolium campestre).|