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Slender Hare's-ear

Bupleurum tenuissimum

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Apiaceae (Carrot)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Gardens, grassland, saltmarshes, seaside, walls, wasteland.

Yellow, 5 petals
The yellowish-green flowers are tinged red and arranged inside tiny umbels. The petals are tiny and with inrolled edges. The bracts are narrow.
The fruit is globular in shape.
Dull green, slender, simple, linear leaves which alternate up the stems. The leaves reach a maximum of 7cm long. A short, erect or sprawling annual with wiry stems. Easily missed when walking past it.
Other Names:
Fine-leaved Hare's-ear.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Bupleurum tenuissimum, also known as fine-leaved hare's ear, is a species of perennial herb in the Apiaceae family. It is native to Europe and Asia, and is typically found in dry, rocky or sandy habitats. It has a strong taproot and a short stem that branches near the base, reaching a height of up to 30 cm. The leaves are finely divided and feathery, and the plant produces small, yellow or greenish flowers in umbels. These flowers bloom in late summer to early fall. The plant is not commonly cultivated and it is not widely known. However, it has been traditionally used in herbal medicine as a diuretic, expectorant, and to promote sweating. It is also used to make a yellow dye.


The Slender Hare's-ear, also known as Bupleurum tenuissimum, is a fascinating plant species that belongs to the Apiaceae family. It is a herbaceous annual plant that can grow up to 30cm tall and is native to Europe and Asia. The plant has a slender stem with narrow leaves that are arranged alternately. The flowers are small and yellow, with five petals that are arranged in umbels. The Slender Hare's-ear has a delicate appearance, but it is quite hardy and can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions.

One of the most interesting features of the Slender Hare's-ear is its medicinal properties. The plant has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine as a treatment for a variety of ailments, including fever, inflammation, and pain. In recent years, scientists have been studying the plant to better understand its potential health benefits. Some studies have suggested that the Slender Hare's-ear may have anti-cancer properties, as well as the ability to lower blood sugar levels and protect the liver from damage.

Another interesting aspect of the Slender Hare's-ear is its use in landscaping and gardening. The plant is often used in rock gardens or as a ground cover in sunny, well-drained areas. Its delicate appearance and low-maintenance requirements make it a popular choice for gardeners who want to add a touch of elegance to their outdoor spaces. Additionally, the Slender Hare's-ear is a popular choice for cut flower arrangements, as its long stems and bright yellow flowers make for a striking addition to any bouquet.

Despite its many benefits, the Slender Hare's-ear is not without its challenges. The plant is highly invasive and can quickly take over an area if left unchecked. It is important to monitor the plant and take steps to control its growth if necessary. Additionally, some people may experience allergic reactions to the plant, particularly if they have a history of allergies to other members of the Apiaceae family.

The Slender Hare's-ear is a versatile plant that can grow in a wide range of soils and climates. It prefers well-drained soils and full sun, but it can also tolerate some shade. The plant is drought-resistant and does not require a lot of water, making it a good choice for xeriscaping and water-wise gardening.

Propagation of the Slender Hare's-ear is relatively easy. The plant produces seeds that can be sown directly into the soil in the spring or fall. Alternatively, the seeds can be started indoors and transplanted outside when the weather is warm enough. The plant can also be propagated through division, by separating the root ball into smaller pieces and planting them in new locations.

In addition to its medicinal and landscaping uses, the Slender Hare's-ear has some cultural significance as well. In Japan, the plant is known as "mebuki-giku" and is associated with spring and new beginnings. It is often used in traditional Japanese flower arrangements and is considered a symbol of good fortune.

The Slender Hare's-ear is also an important plant for pollinators. Its flowers attract bees, butterflies, and other insects, providing a valuable source of nectar and pollen. In turn, these pollinators help to ensure the continued growth and reproduction of the plant, as well as other plants in the surrounding area.

In addition to its traditional uses in Chinese medicine, the Slender Hare's-ear has also been studied for its potential anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Some studies have suggested that the plant may be effective in treating respiratory infections and other ailments.

However, it is important to note that further research is needed to fully understand the potential health benefits of the Slender Hare's-ear. As with any natural remedy, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before using the plant for medicinal purposes.

In some areas, the Slender Hare's-ear is considered a noxious weed and is actively managed to prevent its spread. It is important to check with local authorities before planting the plant in areas where it is not native, as it can quickly become invasive and compete with native plants for resources.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the Slender Hare's-ear is often used in combination with other herbs to create remedies for a variety of conditions. It is believed to have a cooling effect on the body and is often used to treat fevers, headaches, and other inflammatory conditions.

The plant contains a number of active compounds, including flavonoids, saponins, and polysaccharides, which are believed to be responsible for its potential health benefits. Some studies have suggested that the plant may be effective in treating certain types of cancer, including breast, lung, and liver cancer. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings and to determine the optimal dosage and treatment protocols.

In addition to its potential health benefits, the Slender Hare's-ear is also a valuable plant for soil conservation. Its deep root system helps to prevent soil erosion and improve soil quality, making it a good choice for areas that are prone to erosion or have poor soil conditions.

Overall, the Slender Hare's-ear is a plant with many benefits and uses, from traditional medicine to landscaping and conservation. Its delicate appearance and hardy nature make it a popular choice for gardeners and landscapers, while its potential health benefits make it an area of interest for scientists and healthcare professionals. With further research and careful management, this plant may continue to provide valuable contributions to society for many years to come.

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Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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