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Red Bartsia

Odontites vernus

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
40 centimetres tall
Grassland, wasteland.

Pink, 4 petals
Pink-purple one-sided flower spike, lower lip of flowers are 3-lobed.
Hairy capsules. Seeds are ridged and oval.
Narrow and hairy opposite leaves which are also lanceolate and toothed.
Other Names:
Spring Bartsia.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Odontites vernus, also known as red bartsia or spring 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, red or purple flowers and hairy, sticky leaves. Odontites vernus is an annual or biennial plant that grows up to 50 centimeters (20 inches) tall and has a thin, upright stem. The leaves are oblong in shape and are a bright green color, with a hairy, glandular surface. The plant produces small, red or purple flowers that are shaped like a funnel and are arranged in clusters. Odontites vernus is found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, meadows, and along roadsides. 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.


Red Bartsia (Odontites vernus) is a stunning herbaceous perennial plant that is native to Europe. This plant is also known by its other names, such as vernal bugloss, spring odontites, and spring bartsia. It is a member of the Scrophulariaceae family and is an attractive addition to any wildflower meadow, woodland edge or herb garden.

The Red Bartsia is an early spring-blooming plant that produces spikes of bright red or pink flowers. The flowers are tubular in shape, with a downward-facing trumpet, which makes them ideal for attracting bees and other pollinators. The leaves of the Red Bartsia are green and slightly hairy, with a lanceolate shape.

The plant grows to a height of around 60 cm, and it can be propagated by seed or division. It prefers well-drained soils and partial shade, but can tolerate a range of soil types and conditions. Once established, it is a low-maintenance plant that requires little attention.

One of the great things about Red Bartsia is that it can be grown in a variety of settings, making it a versatile addition to any garden. It is often used as an underplanting for shrubs, in wildflower meadows, or as a standalone specimen in an herb garden. The vibrant red flowers make it an excellent focal point in the garden, particularly when planted in masses.

In terms of wildlife, Red Bartsia is a valuable plant for pollinators. Its early blooming nature makes it a valuable source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and other insects, while its tubular flowers make it a suitable nesting site for some species of bumblebees.

Red Bartsia is also known for its medicinal properties. The plant has been used for centuries to treat various ailments, including respiratory problems and digestive issues. The leaves and stems of the plant contain antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and expectorant properties, which make it a valuable plant for treating respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and asthma.

In traditional medicine, Red Bartsia was also used as a diuretic and to treat digestive issues such as indigestion and bloating. The plant was used to stimulate the production of urine, which is why it was considered to be a valuable treatment for urinary tract infections and other conditions.

Despite its many benefits, Red Bartsia should be used with caution, as it can be toxic if ingested in large quantities. If you are interested in using Red Bartsia for medicinal purposes, it is recommended that you consult a qualified healthcare professional before doing so.

In addition to its medicinal properties and ornamental value, Red Bartsia is also an important plant for wildlife. The plant provides a valuable source of nectar for a range of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and moths. These insects are essential for maintaining biodiversity and supporting food webs, and they also play a critical role in pollinating many food crops.

Red Bartsia is also an important plant for wildlife habitat. The plant provides cover and shelter for a range of small mammals, birds, and insects. Additionally, the plant provides an important source of food for many species of caterpillars, which are the larvae of moths and butterflies.

The plant is also an important species in the restoration of degraded and disturbed habitats. Red Bartsia is a tough and resilient plant that can tolerate a range of environmental conditions, including those found in disturbed habitats. As a result, it is often used in the restoration of degraded habitats, such as former mine sites, where it helps to stabilize the soil and restore biodiversity.

In conclusion, Red Bartsia is much more than just a beautiful plant for the garden. It is an important plant for pollinators, wildlife habitat, and habitat restoration. As a result, it is an important plant for maintaining biodiversity and supporting healthy ecosystems. So, whether you're planting Red Bartsia for its ornamental value, its medicinal properties, or its ecological value, you can be sure that you're making a valuable contribution to your local ecosystem.


Red Bartsia filmed in Coppull, Lancashire on the 9th July 2022.


Music credits
Daytime TV Theme by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

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