Lotus corniculatus - Lotier commun

Famille: Leguminosae, Genre: Lotus
Cornette, Lotier corniculé, Lotier hirsute, Lotier poilu, Pied de poule, Sabot-de-la-mariée
Vivace (0.3m de haut par 0.5m de large).


Plein soleil
Tolère un peu de vent
Sol sec à moyen.
Tous sols. Nécessite un sol drainant. Tolère les sols pauvres.
Sol acide ou calcaire
Zone 5
Habitat originel
Pastures and sunny banks of streams, especially on calcareous soils[7, 13, 17].
Origine géographique
Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa and temperate Asia.

Dangers connus

  • All parts of the plant are poisonous, containing cyanogenic glycosides(hydrogen cyanide) [65, 76].
  • Il a été démontré qu'en petites quantités, le cyanure d'hydrogène stimule la respiration et améliore la digestion. Il est également réputé bénéfique dans le traitement du cancer. .
  • En excès, cela peut empêcher la respiration de la plante, voire sa mort .
  • This species is polymorphic for cyanogenic glycosides [218].
  • The flowers of some forms of the plant contain traces of prussic acid and so the plants can become mildly toxic when flowering [218].
  • They are completely innocuous when dried [218].


  • The young seedpods are 'nibbled' [177].
  • Caution is advised, see notes above on toxicity .

Usages médicinaux

  • Carminative, febrifuge, hypoglycaemic, restorative, vermifuge [178].
  • The flowers are antispasmodic, cardiotonic and sedative [7].
  • The root is carminative, febrifuge, restorative and tonic [218].
  • The plant is used externally as a local anti-inflammatory compress in all cases of skin inflammation [7].

Autres usages

  • An orange-yellow dye is obtained from the flowers [74].
  • A useful green manure plant, fixing atmospheric nitrogen [7].
  • It is difficult to see this plant as a useful green manure, it is fairly slow growing with us and does not produce much bulk [K].


  • Requires a well-drained soil in a sunny position [200].
  • N'aime pas l'ombre [200].
  • Does well on poor soils [61].
  • An important food plant for many caterpillars [30].
  • It is also a good bee plant[74], the flowers providing an important source of nectar [240].
  • The flowers are powerfully scented, even though they are able to pollinate themselves [245].
  • The plant spreads very freely at the roots [1].
  • Ces plantes ont une relation symbiotique avec des bactéries du sol qui forment des nodules sur les racines et fixent l'azote atmosphérique .
  • Une partie de cet azote est utilisé par la plante mais une partie est disponible aux autres plantes poussant à proximité [200].


  • Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in the spring or autumn in situ .
  • The seed usually germinates in 2 - 4 weeks at 15°c .
  • If seed is in short supply, it can be sown in pots in a cold frame .
  • When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in late spring or early summer .


En fleur
6 - 9
Maturité des graines
8 - 10


Type de fleur
Hermaphrodite (les fleurs ont des organes mâles et femelles)


Autres réferences
[17, 200]


[1] F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 1951.
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[7] Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. 1984.
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
[17] Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. 1962.
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
[30] Carter D. Butterflies and Moths in Britain and Europe. 1982.
An excellent book on Lepidoptera, it also lists their favourite food plants.
[61] Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. 1974.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[65] Frohne. D. and Pfänder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. 1984.
Brilliant. Goes into technical details but in a very readable way. The best work on the subject that I've come across so far.
[74] Komarov. V. L. Flora of the USSR. 1968.
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers.
[76] Cooper. M. and Johnson. A. Poisonous Plants in Britain and their Effects on Animals and Man. 1984.
Concentrates mainly on the effects of poisonous plants to livestock.
[177] Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. 1984.
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
[178] Stuart. Rev. G. A. Chinese Materia Medica.
A translation of an ancient Chinese herbal. Fascinating.
[200] Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[218] Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China 1985.
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
[240] Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). 1986.
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
[245] Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. 1994.
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.