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Shrubby Hare's-ear

Bupleurum fruticosum

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)
Evergreen shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
2 metres tall
Cliffs, gardens, mountains, roadsides, rocky places, walls.

Yellow, 5 petals
The small sulphur yellow flowers are clustered together inside dainty terminal umbels. The domed umbels each measure about 4cm across. Upper and lower bracts are present. Pollinated by wasps.
Ridged, oblong to oval fruits. The seeds ripen from August to October.
Narrow, bluish-green, oblong, leathery leaves and purple twigs.
The leaves are fragrant when crushed in the fingers.
Other Names:
Thorow Wax.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Bupleurum fruticosum, also known as shrubby hare's ear, is a species of perennial herb in the Apiaceae family. It is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, and is typically found in rocky or stony habitats, such as hillsides and cliffs. It is a woody perennial that forms a small bush and can reach up to 2 m tall. The leaves are pinnate 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.


Shrubby Hare's-ear, scientifically known as Bupleurum fruticosum, is a Mediterranean plant species that belongs to the Apiaceae family. It is a woody perennial shrub that can reach a height of up to 2 meters and is characterized by its small yellow flowers and narrow leaves. Shrubby Hare's-ear is a hardy plant that thrives in a range of habitats, from rocky slopes to sandy plains, and it is commonly found in the western Mediterranean region, including Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.

The plant has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. In traditional medicine, it was used to treat digestive disorders, respiratory ailments, and skin problems. Recent research has shown that Shrubby Hare's-ear contains various bioactive compounds that may have potential therapeutic applications.

One of the most significant compounds found in Shrubby Hare's-ear is the sesquiterpene lactone bupleurumol. This compound has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, making it a potential candidate for the development of new drugs to treat inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Additionally, bupleurumol has been found to have anti-tumor properties, making it a promising candidate for cancer treatment.

Shrubby Hare's-ear also contains flavonoids, which are natural compounds with antioxidant properties. Flavonoids have been shown to have various health benefits, including reducing inflammation, improving cardiovascular health, and preventing age-related cognitive decline.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Shrubby Hare's-ear has ornamental value and is often grown in gardens for its attractive foliage and flowers. The plant is also used in landscaping as a low hedge or as a border plant.

Despite its numerous benefits, Shrubby Hare's-ear is threatened by habitat loss and over-harvesting for its medicinal properties. In some areas, the plant is protected by law, but more efforts are needed to ensure its conservation and sustainable use.

Shrubby Hare's-ear is an important plant in the Mediterranean ecosystem as it plays a vital role in stabilizing the soil and preventing erosion. Its deep root system helps to retain moisture and nutrients, making it an essential plant in arid and semi-arid regions. It is also an important food source for insects and birds, which feed on its nectar and seeds.

Cultivation of Shrubby Hare's-ear is relatively easy, and it is a hardy plant that can tolerate a range of soil types and conditions. It is drought tolerant and requires little maintenance once established. The plant can be propagated from seeds or cuttings and grows well in full sun to partial shade.

Shrubby Hare's-ear is also used in the cosmetic industry for its skin-enhancing properties. The plant extracts are used in anti-aging creams, lotions, and shampoos. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties make it a valuable ingredient in natural skincare products.

In addition to its medicinal and cosmetic properties, Shrubby Hare's-ear is used in traditional cuisine. In Portugal, the young shoots are used in salads, and the dried stems and roots are used as a flavoring agent in soups and stews. In Morocco, the plant is used to make a tea that is believed to aid digestion and treat respiratory ailments.

Shrubby Hare's-ear also has cultural and historical significance. It has been used in traditional medicine by various cultures for centuries, and the plant is mentioned in ancient Greek and Roman literature. In Greek mythology, the god Apollo is said to have used the plant to heal wounds, and it was also believed to have been used by the legendary healer Asclepius.

Shrubby Hare's-ear has also been used in traditional religious ceremonies. In Morocco, the plant is used in Sufi rituals to purify the body and the soul. It is believed to have spiritual and healing properties that help to connect the worshipper to the divine.

Furthermore, Shrubby Hare's-ear has potential applications in bioremediation, the process of using plants to remove pollutants from the environment. Its deep root system makes it effective in phytoremediation, the use of plants to clean up contaminated soil and water.

Shrubby Hare's-ear is also used in traditional folk medicine for the treatment of several ailments, such as menstrual disorders, respiratory problems, and skin conditions. The plant is believed to have antispasmodic, diuretic, and expectorant properties, which make it useful in the treatment of these conditions.

Moreover, Shrubby Hare's-ear is a valuable source of essential oils, which are used in perfumery and aromatherapy. The oil extracted from the plant is believed to have a calming effect and is used to treat anxiety and stress-related disorders.

The plant has also been found to have insecticidal properties, making it useful in pest control. Its extracts have been shown to be effective against several pests, including aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites.

Furthermore, Shrubby Hare's-ear has potential applications in the production of biofuels. The plant has been found to have high levels of oil content, which could be extracted and used as a source of biofuel.

In conclusion, Shrubby Hare's-ear is a versatile plant with numerous potential applications. Its traditional medicinal uses, cosmetic properties, and culinary applications make it a valuable resource, and its ecological, cultural, and historical significance make it an important part of the Mediterranean ecosystem. As a plant with potential applications in bioremediation and biofuel production, it could play an important role in environmental sustainability and energy production. Therefore, it is important to conserve this plant and explore its potential applications for the benefit of society.