This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Herbs with 3-5-foliolate leaves, and umbelled reddish yellow or white flowers. Calyx-teeth nearly equal. Petals free from the stamen-tube; standard ovate or orbicular; wings oblong or obovate; keel incurved, obtuse or beaked. Stamens diadelphous (1 and 9); anthers all alike. Ovary sessile, 1-several-ovuled. Pod linear or oblong, flatfish or terete, 2-valved, i-several-seeded, septate or continuous between the seeds. [The Greek name of several different plants.]
About 90 species, of wide geographic distribution in the Old World, the following typical.
Lotus corniculatus L. Sp. Pl. 775. 1753.
Perennial from a long root, appressed-pubescent or glabrate. Stems slender, decumbent, or ascending, 3'-2° long; leaves 3-foliolate, short-petioled; leaflets obovate, oblanceolate or oblong, 3"-8" long, obtuse or acute; stipules similar to the leaflets, and often as large; peduncles elongated, sometimes 4'-6' long, umbellately 3-12-flowered; calyx-lobes acute, as long as the tube, or shorter; corolla bright yellow, 6"-9" long, or the standard reddish; pods linear, about 1' long, spreading, several-seeded.
In waste places and on ballast, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and about the seaports of the Eastern and Middle States to Washington, D. C. Adventive from Europe. Native also of Asia, and widely distributed as a weed. Crow-toes (Milton). Cross-toes. Cat's-clover. Sheepfoot. Bird's-eye. Ladies'-fingers. Devil's-fingers. Shoes and stockings. Claver. June-Sept.