Anthyllis vulneraria constitutes a very complex and heterogeneous form-cycle. This cycle manifests itself in complexes of different forms. In trying to work out the systematics of this group, one encounters great difficulties because of scarcity of distinguishing characters between the species (these being mostly recent and insufficiently differentiated races) and the occurrence of numerous intermediate or ‘transitional’ forms. Moreover, delimitation of the ‘series’ mentioned above involves almost insuperable difficulties because of the large number of what appear to be hybrid forms, which constitute a link between species that are sometimes of different origin[
]. We are following the treatment of Cullen J. 1976. The Anthyllis vulneraria complex: a resume. Notes Roy. Bot. Gard. Edinburgh 35: 1-38; where Anthyllis vulneraria is treated as a complex species with more than 30 subspecies[
Anthyllis abyssinica (Sagorski) W.Becker
Anthyllis affinis A.Kern.
Anthyllis albana Wettst.
Anthyllis alpestris Hegetschw.
Anthyllis alpestris Rchb.
Anthyllis alpicola Brügger
Anthyllis arenaria (Rupr.) Juz.
Anthyllis argyrophylla Rothm.
Anthyllis arundana Boiss. & Reut.
Anthyllis asturiae W.Becker
Anthyllis biebersteiniana Popl.
Anthyllis boissieri (Sagorski) Grossh.
Anthyllis bonjeanii Beck
Anthyllis carpatica Pant.
Anthyllis coccinea pyrenaica Beck
Anthyllis colorata Juz.
Anthyllis daghestanica Chinth.
Anthyllis dillenii Don
Anthyllis dillenii Schult. ex Steud.
Anthyllis fennica (Jalas) Z.V.Kloczkova
Anthyllis font-queri Rothm.
Anthyllis forondae Sennen
Anthyllis gandogeri (Sagorski) W. Becker
Anthyllis hispida Boiss. & Reut.
Anthyllis hispidissima Sagorski
Anthyllis illyrica Beck
Anthyllis insularum Rothm.
Anthyllis kuzenevae Juz.
Anthyllis lachnophora Juz.
Anthyllis linnaei (Sagorski) Juz.
Anthyllis lusitanica Cullen & P. Silva
Anthyllis macrocephala Wender.
Anthyllis maritima Hagen
Anthyllis maura Beck
Anthyllis nivalis (Willk.) Beck
Anthyllis pachyphylla Rothm.
Anthyllis polyphylla (DC.) Don
Anthyllis polyphylla Kit. ex DC.
Anthyllis praepropera (A.Kern.) Beck
Anthyllis pseudovulneraria Sagorski
Anthyllis pulchella (Vis.) Vis.
Anthyllis rosea Willk.
Anthyllis rubicunda Wender.
Anthyllis saharae Sagorski
Anthyllis sampaiana Rothm.
Anthyllis scardica Wettst.
Anthyllis schiwereckii (DC.) Blocki
Anthyllis schiwerescii (DC.) Blocki
Anthyllis serpentinicola Rech.f. & Goulimy
Anthyllis spruneri (Boiss.) Beck
Anthyllis taurica Juz.
Anthyllis tricolor Vuk.
Anthyllis valesiaca Beck
Anthyllis vulgaris A.Kern.
Anthyllis webbiana nivalis Willk.
Anthyllis weldeniana Rchb.
Astragalus vulnerarioides All.
Common Name: Kidney Vetch
Flowering plant near the coast in northern Spain
Photograph by: ghislain118
Anthyllis vulneraria is a very variable, herbaceous, annual to perennial plant producing one to many erect to decumbent stems up to 60cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and tea.
Most of Europe, including Britain, south and east to the Caucasus and N. Africa.
Dry situations on sea cliffs, stony rocks and shingle, usually on shallow calcareous soils[
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A plant of the temperate zone, where it is found at elevations up to 2,200 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 14 - 20°c, but can tolerate 6 - 25°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 600 - 900mm, but tolerates 450 - 1,100mm[
Prefers a sunny position[
] and an alkaline soil[
]. Prefers a sandy loam but tolerates most soils[
]. Thrives in poor soils[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 - 7.5, tolerating 5 - 8[
A rich food source for bees, butterflies and caterpillars[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
The dried flower heads are a tea substitute[
The plant contains tannins, which have in the past been widely employed in popular medicine as an astringent and for wound dressing[
The roots, leaves and flowers are antitussive, astringent, laxative and vulnerary[
]. Taken internally, it is used as a treatment for constipation and as a spring tonic[
Used externally, the plant is an ancient remedy for skin eruptions, slow-healing wounds, minor wounds, cuts and bruises[
The plant can be used fresh in the growing season, or harvested when in flower and dried for later use[
The plant contains pigments and tanning agents[
]. This implies the plant can be used as a dyestuff[
Seed - sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. If there is sufficient seed it can be sown outdoors in situ. Pre-soak the seed for about 12 hrs or scarify the seed[
]. It usually germinates in 1 -2 months at 10°c[
]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
Division in spring or autumn[