Horseshoe Vetch (Hippocrepis comosa)

In my notes on the Adonis Blue butterfly I suggested you go in search of Horseshoe Vetch, the butterfly's food plant. It occurs to me now that you may not be familiar with it so here is a photo to show you what you are looking for!

Being a vetch it is, therefore, a member of the pea family and as such has the classic pea shaped flower head. However, the pea flowers are arranged in a horseshoe shape around the head of the stalk; there does not seem to be a specific number of flowers per 'horseshoe'.

Flowering from May to July it can be found on short, calcareous, turf on cliffs and downs, and is extremely common near the Dorset coast, hence the abundance of Adonis Blue butterflies.

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