A large and important family of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants, including many difficult genera. 117 species have been reported from Corfu so far, but only a few species together with a short description are presented on this page.
ANTHYLLIS – Kidney-vetches
2 (3) species in this genus are reported from Corfu.
Anthyllis vulneraria ssp. rubriflora (A. vulneraria ssp. praepropera) – Red kidney-vetch
The red or sometimes purple-flowered subspecies of kidney-vetch. A herbaceous plant, often with a woody base. This species is widespread and can be found growing in grassy places or among rocks.
ASTRAGALUS – Milk vetches
A genus with 2 (3) reported species from Corfu.
Astragalus monspessulanus – Montpellier milk-vetch, false vetch
A low-growing plant with purple-red or violet purple flowers and compound leaves with 7 – 20 oval leaflets. The Montpellier milk-vetch is found growing on arid hills or rocky grounds in the mountains.
BITUMINARIA (Psoraleae) – Pitch trefoils
Only 1 species found on Corfu.
Bituminaria (Psoralea) bituminosa – Pitch trefoil, bitumen pea
A widespread plant found all around the Mediterranean and very common on Corfu. The flowers are violet-blue and clover-like in shape. The leaves, also clover-like with three leaflets, smell of tar when crushed. The pitch trefoil can be found on sandy and stony grounds all over Corfu.
Calycotme vilosa –
1 species found on Corfu
Cercis siliquastrum – Judas tree
A small tree with vividly pink flowers appearing directly on the branches and on the tree trunk in spring, before or sometimes together with the kidney shaped leaves. The seed pods are reddish-brown and strap-like in shape. Sometimes the tree flowers again in the autumn. This is traditionally believed to be the tree that Judas Iscariot hanged himself from when denouncing Christ. The then pale flowered tree was, according to the legend, so ashamed that it blushed pink. However, the common name may also just suggest that the tree was once common in the hills of Judea.
3 species reported from Corfu. Genus characterised by having leaves with five leaflets.
Dorycnium hirsutum – Hairy canary-clover
This is a hairy perennial or small shrub with white or pink flowers that is frequently found growing in grassy places or among shrubs in Corfu.
Glycyrrhiza glabra – Liquorice
HIPPOCREPIS – Horseshoe vetch
A genus of annuals or perennials with pinnate leafs and flowers in long stalked clusters and long segmented seed pods. The segments are either horseshoe shaped or rectangular. 4 species reported from Corfu.
Hippocrepis (Coronilla) emerus – Scorpion senna
A yellow-flowered shrub with dark green leaves and long, slender seed pods found growing in shady places or in thickets.
1 species found on Corfu
Hymenocarpus circinnatus – Disk trefoil
A hairy annual plant with small yellow flowers. The lower leaves are simple while the upper are pinnate. The seed pods are disk-like and often have scattered spines. Very common in fields and other grassy places on Corfu.
LATHYRUS – Pea
A genus of climbing plants with compound leaves with few pairs of leaflets and stems that often are winged. At least 10 species found on Corfu.
Lathyrus ochrus – Winged vetchling
A upright species with winged stems and cream coloured flowers. A common species in dry fields and grassy places on Corfu.
Lathyrus setifolius – Red pea
A small or slender plant with narrowly winged steam and small orange-red flowers. The red pea can be found in grassy places, on waste ground and in the phrygana.
LOTUS – Birdsfoot trefoil
At least 6 species found in Corfu. Many species in this genus are very similar in appearance.
Low-growing, spreading species with silvery-haired foliage and yellow flowers that can be found on rocky, stony and sandy places.
Lotus edulis – Edible lotus
A low spreading species with yellow flowers borne either solitary or in pairs. The plant is slightly hairy, the pinnate leaves usually broader above the middle and the seed pod is inflated. Can be found on stony ground, on fields in the phrygana and along roadsides
LUPINUS – Lupins
A genus of herbs or sub-shrubs with flowers arranged in long spikes. 2 (3) species reported from Corfu.
Lupinus micranthus – Hairy lupin
A hairy annual with dark blue flowers that can be found growing in fields and along roadsides.
MEDICAGO – Medick
At least 14 species of medick are found on Corfu. The species in this genus are difficult to identify when in flower but they are all very distinctive when in fruit.
Medicago marina – Sea medick
A very distinct species with silvery white foliage and yellow flowers found growing on sand dunes and beaches.
Meliotus indicus – small meliot
Ornithopus compressus – Yellow serrandella
Pisum sativum –
TETRAGONOLOPUS – Winged peas
The winged seed pod is characteristic for this genus. Only one species reported from Corfu.
Tetragonolobus purpureus – Asparagus pea
A species with bright crimson flowers with a black keel and a large four-winged seed pod. The seed pods can be boiled and eaten. Asparagus peas are found along roadsides and on cultivated land.
TRIFOLIUM – Clover, trefoil
A difficult genus with 25 species reported from Corfu so far.
Trifolium campestre – Hop trefoil
Trifolium tomentosum – Woolly trefoil
A small annual species with pink flowers and very characteristic woolly seed heads. The woolly trefoil grows in rocky places, along roadsides and on cultivated land.
Trifolium stellatum – Star clover
Star clover is a easily recognized annual species with globular, stalked, seed heads, often with bright red calyx teeth, arranged as a star. This is a common plant found growing in dry or sandy places.
Trifolium subterraneum – Subterranean clover
This clover is low growing, mat forming annual with small, white, stalk-less flowers that grows in sandy and gravelly pastures.
VICIA – Vetch
A genus of annual or perennial herbs, often climbing or scrambling through the vegetation with the help of tendrils. The vetches are distinguished from the genus Lathyrus by its leaves which usually have more that three pairs of leaflets and the steams which usually are un-winged. 14 species are reported from Corfu.
Vicia hybrida – Hairy yellow vetchling
The solitary and rather large flowers are either yellow or purplish and hairy on the back. The pinnate leaves have 3 – 8 pairs of oblong leaflets that are notched or blunt at the tip. A widespread plant on disturbed or cultivated ground, often in shady places.
Vicia lutea – Yellow vetch
The yellow vetch has sulphur yellow flowers that often are flushed with purple and arranged in groups of two or three. The flowers are hairless on the back. The pinnate leaves have 3 – 10 leaflets. This species can be found on cultivated ground, in grassy costal habitats and on sand dunes.
Vica sativa – Common vetch
Vicia tenuifolia ssp. dalmatica – Bramble vetch
Vicia vilosa ssp. varia – Fodder vetch
SPARTIUM – Spanish broom
A genus of only one species native to the mediterranean area but distributed and and naturalised around the world in areas with a mediterranean climate. Considered an invasive weed in many places.
Spartium juncea – Spanish Broom
This is a large shrub with long rush-like steams and very few leaves. The flowers are large, bright yellow and sweetely scented. The Spanish broom grows on dry slopes, in the phrygana or in open woodland.