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Arctic Eyebright

Euphrasia arctica

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall
Grassland, marshes, meadows.

White, 5 petals
Flowers are white or lilace and 6 to 9mm wide. The lower lip is 3-lobed.
The fruit is a flat, hairy capsule. Many-seeded.
The green leaves are oval and toothed. This is Scotland's most common Eyebright species, and the most common in some parts of Ireland. Annual.
Other Names:
Island Eyebright.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Euphrasia arctica is a species of flowering plant in the family Orobanchaceae. It is native to the Arctic regions of Europe and is known for its medicinal properties. The plant is used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including eye irritation, conjunctivitis, and other eye disorders. It is also used to treat respiratory and digestive problems. It is a perennial herb that grows to be about 15-50 cm tall, with small pink or purple flowers. The leaves are oblong in shape and grow in opposite pairs. The plant is commonly found in grassy meadows and pastures in the Arctic region.


Arctic Eyebright, Euphrasia arctica, is a unique and fascinating plant species that grows in the Arctic tundra regions of the world. This plant is known for its small, delicate white or yellow flowers, which have earned it the name “Eyebright” due to their traditional use as a natural remedy for eye conditions.

Arctic Eyebright is a hardy plant that is well adapted to life in the harsh and challenging conditions of the Arctic. It is a low-growing plant, typically only reaching heights of 5-10 centimeters, and it has a small rosette of leaves at its base. The leaves are soft and covered in fine hairs, which helps the plant to conserve moisture and resist the cold winds that often whip across the tundra.

One of the most remarkable things about Arctic Eyebright is its flowering period, which usually occurs during the Arctic summer months. Despite the harsh conditions, the plant manages to produce a stunning display of delicate flowers that are a favorite of local insects, such as bees and butterflies. The flowers are a valuable source of nectar and pollen for these insects, and they help to support the local ecosystem.

In traditional folk medicine, Arctic Eyebright has been used for centuries to treat eye conditions such as conjunctivitis, styes, and other infections. The plant is believed to have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, which help to soothe and heal the eyes. While the scientific evidence for these uses is limited, it is believed that the active compounds in the plant may help to reduce swelling and redness, and to protect the eyes from harmful pathogens.

Today, Arctic Eyebright is still used as a natural remedy for eye conditions, and it is often included in herbal remedies and natural health products. While there is no cure for eye conditions, using Arctic Eyebright and other natural remedies in conjunction with modern medical treatments can help to support the health of the eyes and promote a speedy recovery.

Arctic Eyebright is a fascinating and hardy plant species that is well adapted to life in the Arctic tundra. Its delicate flowers and traditional use as a natural remedy for eye conditions make it a valuable and interesting addition to any herbal medicine cabinet. Whether you are a plant enthusiast, a natural health enthusiast, or simply looking for a way to support your eye health, Arctic Eyebright is definitely worth exploring.

Aside from its traditional medicinal uses, Arctic Eyebright has a fascinating ecology and is an important part of the Arctic tundra ecosystem. The plant is considered a pioneer species, meaning it is one of the first to colonize newly exposed areas of the tundra, such as those created by retreating glaciers. By doing so, it helps to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion, and it also provides a source of food and habitat for other species.

Arctic Eyebright is also a valuable source of food for some animals, including reindeer and other herbivores. The plant’s leaves and stems are high in nutrients and provide a valuable source of energy for these animals, especially during the long, harsh Arctic winter.

Unfortunately, like many other Arctic plant species, Arctic Eyebright is facing increasing threats from climate change. As temperatures rise and the Arctic tundra warms, the range of the plant is likely to shrink, and its survival may be threatened by changes to the soil, water availability, and other factors. In order to protect this valuable species, it is important to raise awareness of its importance and to work towards reducing the impact of climate change on the Arctic tundra.

Overall, Arctic Eyebright is a fascinating and valuable plant species that has much to offer both in terms of its traditional medicinal uses and its ecological importance. Whether you are an herbalist, a naturalist, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty and resilience of the natural world, Arctic Eyebright is a plant worth getting to know.

In addition to its ecological and medicinal importance, Arctic Eyebright also has a rich cultural and historical significance. Throughout the ages, the plant has been revered by indigenous peoples of the Arctic for its beauty and medicinal properties. In many cultures, the plant is considered a symbol of good health and longevity, and it is often used in traditional ceremonies and rituals.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the traditional uses of Arctic Eyebright and other Arctic plants. Many people are turning to natural remedies and herbal medicine as an alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals, and they are rediscovering the value of plants like Arctic Eyebright that have been used for centuries to promote health and wellbeing.

If you are interested in learning more about Arctic Eyebright and its traditional uses, there are many resources available online, including books, articles, and scientific papers. You can also find information about the plant and its uses from herbalists and natural health practitioners.

Finally, if you are looking to try Arctic Eyebright for yourself, there are several products available, including herbal remedies, teas, and dietary supplements. It is important to talk to your doctor before trying any new remedies or supplements, especially if you have a medical condition or are taking prescription medications.

In conclusion, Arctic Eyebright is a unique and valuable plant species that has much to offer in terms of its ecological importance, medicinal uses, and cultural significance. Whether you are interested in natural remedies, the Arctic tundra, or the history and culture of indigenous peoples, Arctic Eyebright is a fascinating and inspiring plant that is well worth exploring.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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