Appearance''Lotus berthelotii'' has a creeping or trailing habit, with leaves divided into 3-5 slender leaflets, each leaflet 1–2 cm long and 1 mm broad, densely covered with fine silvery hairs. The flowers are orange-red to red, peaflower-shaped, but slender, 2–4 cm long and 5–8 mm broad.
The flowers of ''Lotus berthelotii'' and some other Canary Island species appear to be adapted for bird pollination. It was once thought that the original pollinators of these plants were sunbirds which had become extinct on the Canary Islands, explaining why they are rare and considered endangered species . However more recent work has shown that these plants are adequately pollinated by non-specialist flower visiting birds, particularly the Canary Islands chiffchaff , and in fact show some specific adaptations to infrequent pollination by these birds, such as extended flower lifespans.
However, the cultivated population studied by Ollerton et al. set no fruit, despite the plants receiving large amounts of pollen on their stigmas. This may be because the population was a single, self incompatible clonal genotype; whether this is true of all plants in cultivation is unknown, but may have important implications for the conservation of this species if it is extinct in the wild.
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