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Common Name: Pasque Flower
Pulsatilla vulgaris is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.20 metres tall.
It has medicinal and miscellaneous uses.
The plant is slightly toxic, the toxins are dissipated by heat or by drying the plant[
Repeated handling of the plant can cause skin irritation in some people[
Northern and central Europe, including Britain, to W. Asia.
Dry, sunny grassy calcareous slopes[
Requires a well-drained humus rich gritty soil in a sunny position[
]. Lime tolerant[
]. Prefers lime[
]. Grows best in a well-drained chalky soil in a dry warm situation[
]. Established plants are fairly drought tolerant[
A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -20°c[
A very ornamental plant[
], there are many named varieties[
]. The plant has become rare in its natural environment, due partly to over-collecting and partly to habitat loss[
Large plants transplant badly[
A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes[
Pasque flower is considered by herbalists to be of highly valuable modern curative use as a herbal simple[
]. The plant contains the glycoside ranunculin, this is converted to anemonine when the plant is dried and is the medicinally active principle in the plant[
The whole plant is alterative, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, nervine and sedative[
]. It is taken internally in the treatment of pre-menstrual syndrome, inflammations of the reproductive organs, tension headaches, neuralgia, insomnia, hyperactivity, bacterial skin infections, septicaemia, spasmodic coughs in asthma, whooping cough and bronchitis[
]. Externally, it is used to treat eye conditions such as diseases of the retina, senile cataract and glaucoma[
]. This remedy should be used with caution[
], excessive doses cause diarrhoea and vomiting[
]. It should not be prescribed to patients with colds[
]. See also the notes above on toxicity[
]. The plant is harvested soon after flowering, it is more poisonous when fresh and so should be carefully preserved by drying[
]. It should not be stored for longer than 12 months before being used[
In homeopathy, the plant is considered to be specific in the treatment of measles[
]. It is also used for treating nettle rash, toothache, earache and bilious indigestion[
A green dye is obtained from the flowers[
Plants can be grown to form a ground cover, they are best spaced about 30cm apart each way[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in early summer in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in about 2 - 3 weeks. Sow stored seed in late winter in a cold frame. Germination takes about 1 - 6 months at 15°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in the spring.
Root cuttings, 4cm long taken in early winter, potted up in a mixture of peat and sand[
]. They can also be taken in mid summer, planted vertically in pots in a greenhouse or frame. Some care is needed since the plant resents root disturbance[