Plant-Lore

Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Bird’s-foot trefoil

1. Whitstable, 1950s-60s, childhood … dolly-two-shoes – eggs-and-bacon, bird’s-foot trefoil [Whitstable, Kent, February 2011].

2. Mother-in-law, also local, and I always argued about bird’s-foot trefoil. I called it eggs-and-bacon, she Tom Thumb [Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, August 2004].

0033. I call Lotus corniculatus eggs-and-bacon – learnt in Sussex as a child [Westleton, Suffolk, March 1998].

4. Bird’s-foot trefoil: all my childhood in Truro, Cornwall, my extensive family called it boots-and-shoes. That was the only name we knew it by [Hackney, London, February 1998].

5. I was brought up in this part of Bedfordshire, and as a child pre-1939 we used to call bird’s-foot trefoil pettitoes [Heppershall, Bedfordshire, February 1998].

6. In my Cheshire childhood bird’s-foot trefoil was always known as eggs-and-bacon, the yellow section presumably the egg and the red tip the bacon [Lichfield, Staffordshire. February 1998].

0047. Local names known at Addington Moorside, c. 1970 … bird’s-foot trefoil – lady’s fingers [Addington Moorside, West Yorkshire, May 1994].

8. Remembered from my childhood in the 1930s in Kingham, Oxfordshire … bird’s-foot trefoil = hens-and-chickens [Farmoor, Oxfordshire, July 1993].

9. My grandmother, who lived all her life in Hadleigh, Essex, had an unusual name for Lotus corniculatus – bellies-and-bums-fingers-and-thumbs. I have also heard of it referred to as eggs-and-bacon [Worcester, January 1991].

10. Wildflower names used in Wiltshire … Ladies’ fingers and Tom Thumbs – bird’s-foot trefoil [Rowde, Wiltshire, February 1982].

11. [Old names remembered from my childhood in Sussex] bird’s-foot trefoil – shoes-and-stockings [Castle Bytham, Lincolnshire, c. 1982].

Images: main, Burgess Park, London Borough of Southwark, May 2014; upper inset, Farthing Downs, London Borough of Croydon, June 2015; lower inset, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, August 2015].