Anthyllis vulneraria var. coccinea
Hardy nitrogen fixing perennial for sunny sites and a range of soil types. Pretty orangey-red flowers in early summer. The flower head has a woolly calyx and is clustered with many small flowers, hence the common name ‘Granny’s pincushions’. Other common names include Lady’s Slipper, Lady’s Fingers, Cat’s Claws and Crow’s Foot. The flowers provide a rich source of food for bees and butterflies and can be used fresh or dried make a herbal tea.
The roots, leaves and flowers of this plant have various medicinal uses – its name means ‘wound healer’. It contains saponins, tannins and flavonoids in the flowers, leaves and roots. Applied externally it is an ancient remedy for skin eruptions, slow-healing wounds, minor wounds, cuts and bruises. Internally it has been used as a treatment for constipation. The plant can be used fresh in the growing season, or harvested when in flower and dried for later use.
Native to the UK and Southern Europe but naturalised much more widely, this plant occurs naturally in dry grasslands and rocky environments with calcareous or poor soil. It is frost and drought hardy, though prefers some moisture. Height to 60cm when in flower.
Certified organic plant.
Photo credits: Flower: https://www.flickr.com/photos/16155010@N04/47390246091, Potted plant: Kahikatea Farm