Thursday, 14 June 2007

Horseshoe vetch - Hippocrepis comosa

Horseshoe vetch can be found growing in chalk grassland and is the foodplant for the chalkhill blue and the adonis blue butterfly. The leaves of this vetch have a small, inverted notch at the end of them and the yellow flowers grow in a ring. They can look quite similar to birds foot trefoil but this species has only five leaves on each stalk and the leaves don't have an inverted notch. Also the flowers are often tinged with red. Because of this yellow and red colouration birds foot trefoil is also known as eggs and bacon! I found this plant growing at Anchor Bottom, just north of Shoreham cement works. It wasn't wildly abundant but there was enough to support the many adonis blue butterflies i saw flittering about.

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