Bituminaria bituminosa - Pitch Trefoil or Arabian Pea

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Fabales - Family: Fabaceae

Pitch Trefoil, closeup of flowers


Formerly known by the scientific pseudonym Psoralea bituminosa, Pitch Trefoil is a scrambling perennial with pinkish-mauve flowers.

Pitch Trefoil plant

The leaves smell tarry, like bitumen/asphalt.

Pitch Trefoil, closeup of leaves

The trifoliate leaves are eliptic and up to 6cm long.


A tall clambering annual member of the Pea family, Pitch Trefoil grows in field margins, woodland edges and on waste land.


This plant is common and widespread throughout the Mediterranean region

Blooming times

You can expect to see this member of the pea family in bloom from March or April until at least the end of July.

The flowers shown on this page were photographed in southern France in May.

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