Characteristics of woundwort

What is woundwort?

Characteristics of woundwort (Anthyllis vulneraria)

Woundwort illustration
Woundwort illustration

Common name: Kidney Vetch, Woundwort, Ladies Finger

Scientific name: Anthyllis vulneraria L.

Etymology: the name Anthyllis comes from the Greek words “anthos”, which means “flower”, and “ioulus” which means “hair”. This name responds to the fact that it is a plant covered with a patent whitish hairiness, especially in regard to the calyx of the flowers.

Family: Papilionaceae

Habitat. Where does woundwort grow?

Woundwort is native to calcareous soils, and its distribution reaches practically all of Europe, North Africa and America, and Southeast Asia.

It is a plant with different subspecies that present different shades of color. Among all of them stand out:

  • Anthyllis vulneraria L. subsp. alpestris (Ascherson & Graebner): with large inflorescences. Lower leaves undivided. In alpine areas on pastures, meadows or rocky areas.
  • Anthyllis vulneraria L. subsp. praepropera (A. Kerner): with purple, reddish or pink flowers. In Mediterranean areas.

Description of the plant

Woundwort is a prostrate or ascending perennial herb of the Papillionaceae family, up to 50 cm in length.

  • Silky pubescent stems.
  • Green leaves on the upper surface and silky white on the underside, pinnate, with up to 6 pairs of leaflets, the lower ones presenting fewer leaflets than the upper ones and the terminal leaflet very prominent.
  • Yellow flowers, more rarely pink, reddish or white, gathered in heads and protected by the lower part with a pair of bracts reminiscent of leaves. Calyx with very prominent hairiness, swollen with a narrower upper part. The flowers are hermaphroditic and pollinated by insects.
  • The fruit is a small oval pod.
Woundwort
Woundwort photo

Parts used

– The leaves and flowers are prepared in infusions.

Components of woundwort

  • Mucilage
  • Tannins
  • Saponins
  • Flavonoids
  • Anthocyanins

Uses of woundwort

This herbaceous plant of the Papillionaceae family is used as:

  • Forage: This herb is used as a pasture for livestock.
  • In the production of beverages: This plant is used to flavor alcoholic beverages.
  • As a medicinal plant

punto rojo More information on woundwort

This article was endorsed by Julián Masats - Technical agricultural engineer specialized in horticulture and gardening.
Editorial
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

9 October, 2020

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