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Alpine Bartsia

Bartsia alpina

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Bogs, fens, grassland, meadows, mountains, riversides, rocky places, swamps.

Purple, 2 petals
Dark purple flowers with leafy bracts. The flowers are occasionally yellow. 4 stamens
A dark brown, oval capsule. 2 valves.
A downy perennial plant with purple-tinted, oval, untoothed leaves. Unstalked. The leaves appear together in opposite pairs along the stems.
Other Names:
Alpine Bells, Mountain Bartsia, Velvet Bells.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Bartsia alpina, also known as alpine bartsia or mountain bartsia, is a species of flowering plant that is native to Europe. It is a member of the figwort family and is known for its small, purple or pink flowers and narrow, hairy leaves. Bartsia alpina is a perennial plant that grows up to 50 centimeters (20 inches) tall and has a thin, upright stem. The leaves are linear in shape and are a bright green color, with a hairy, glandular surface. The plant produces small, purple or pink flowers that are shaped like a funnel and are arranged in clusters. Bartsia alpina is found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, meadows, and along streams and rivers. It is a popular garden plant and is known for its medicinal properties, with the plant being used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.


Alpine Bartsia (Bartsia alpina) is a stunning and delicate flowering plant that is native to the Alpine regions of Europe. It is a member of the Orobanchaceae family and is known for its beautiful, bell-shaped flowers that bloom in shades of pink and purple. This plant is not only visually stunning but is also a highly sought after plant for its various medicinal properties.

One of the defining features of Alpine Bartsia is its unique habit of growth. It is a low-growing plant that forms dense mats on the ground and can be found growing in the cracks of rocks or on alpine meadows. Its delicate leaves are small and narrow, and its stem is thin and wiry. It is a hardy plant that can withstand harsh weather conditions and is well-suited to alpine environments.

The flowers of Alpine Bartsia are its standout feature. They bloom from July to August and are pink to purple in color. Each flower has five petals that are fused together to form a bell shape. The flowers are arranged in clusters on the stem and are a magnet for pollinators like bees and butterflies.

In addition to its beauty, Alpine Bartsia has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries. It was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans to treat a variety of ailments including respiratory problems, digestive issues, and skin irritations. It is believed to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a useful plant for treating a variety of health conditions.

Despite its many benefits, Alpine Bartsia is considered a threatened species in many parts of Europe. This is due to habitat loss and over-collection for medicinal purposes. It is important to protect this plant and its habitat to ensure its survival for future generations to enjoy.

If you are interested in growing Alpine Bartsia in your own garden, it is important to understand its growing requirements. This plant prefers well-drained soils in a sunny or partially shaded location. It is hardy and can withstand cold temperatures, but it is not drought-tolerant and requires regular watering during dry periods.

Alpine Bartsia is best propagated by dividing the root clumps or by seed. Seeds can be sown in the spring or autumn and should be covered with a light layer of soil. The plant will take a few years to establish itself and produce flowers, but it is well worth the wait.

In the garden, Alpine Bartsia can be used in rock gardens, along paths, or in mixed borders. It can also be grown in pots or containers and makes an excellent addition to a rockery or alpine garden. When planting, be sure to space the plants far enough apart to allow them to grow and spread without crowding each other.

In summary, Alpine Bartsia is a beautiful and versatile plant that is perfect for adding color and interest to any garden. With its stunning flowers, hardy habit, and medicinal properties, it is a must-have for any gardener who loves alpine plants. Whether grown in the garden or in containers, this plant is sure to be a focal point and a conversation starter for years to come.

In terms of conservation, it is important to note that Alpine Bartsia is considered a threatened species in many parts of Europe. This is due to a combination of habitat loss, over-collection for medicinal purposes, and climate change. To help protect this species and its habitat, it is recommended to buy plants from reputable sources that are grown from seeds that are collected in a sustainable manner.

It is also important to support conservation efforts in the Alpine regions where this plant is native. This can be done by donating to conservation organizations or by supporting sustainable tourism initiatives in these areas. Additionally, by growing Alpine Bartsia in our own gardens, we can help raise awareness of its beauty and importance, which may lead to more conservation efforts in the future.

In conclusion, Alpine Bartsia is an important and beautiful plant that deserves our attention and protection. Whether you are a gardener, a conservationist, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, this plant is worth seeking out and supporting. With its stunning flowers, hardy habit, and medicinal properties, it is a true gem of the Alpine region and a valuable addition to any garden or landscape.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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