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Sharp-leaved Fluellen

Kickxia elatine

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Veronicaceae (Speedwell)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres long
Ditches, fens, fields, gardens, marshes, meadows, riversides, wasteland, waterside, wetland.

Yellow, 5 petals
Yellow flowers with a violet, 2-lobed upper lip. The lower lip is creamy yellow and 3-lobed. Flowers are solitary on long, slender stalks. Each flower has a long yellow spur, 7 to 12mm long.
A globular capsule, measuring about 4mm in length.
A sprawling, softly hairy annual flower with arrow-shaped leaves (but variable in shape). The leaves have short but thick stalks. Similar in appearance as Round-leaved Fluellen (Kickxia spuria) but its leaves are heart-shaped.
Other Names:
Elatine Kickxia, Greater Snapdragon, Sharpleaf Cancerwort, Sharp-leaved Cancerwort, Sharp-leaved Wintergreen.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Kickxia elatine, also known as Elatine Kickxia, is a herbaceous annual or perennial plant in the family Plantaginaceae. It is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, and it's considered a rare plant in many regions of Europe.

Kickxia elatine is a small herb that can grow to about 20-30cm tall, with a woody base and a stem that is simple or branched at the base. The leaves are opposite, lanceolate, and sessile. The plant produces small white flowers that are grouped in spikes and bloom during the summer. The flowers are typically 6-8 mm across.

This plant prefers to grow in wet soils and can be found in shallow water, marshes, fens, and wet meadows. It can also grow in ditches, canals, pond edges, and other wetland habitats.

Kickxia elatine is propagated by seed, and it is considered a rare species that requires protection in many regions and not recommended to be planted. It is not known to have any specific medicinal properties and it is considered safe to grow and handle.


Sharp-leaved Fluellen, also known as Kickxia elatine, is a small annual plant that belongs to the family Plantaginaceae. It is native to Europe and parts of Asia, and can now be found in other parts of the world, including North America. The plant is commonly found in disturbed areas such as gardens, fields, and roadsides.

The Sharp-leaved Fluellen is a low-growing plant that usually reaches a height of only 10-30 cm. It has small, lance-shaped leaves that are sharply toothed and grow alternately along the stem. The plant produces small, tubular, bright yellow flowers that are about 1 cm in length. The flowers grow in clusters along the stem and bloom from June to September.

The plant is known for its medicinal properties and has been used for centuries to treat various ailments. It has been traditionally used as a diuretic, astringent, and a remedy for coughs and colds. The leaves and flowers of the plant are rich in alkaloids and flavonoids, which are responsible for its medicinal properties.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Sharp-leaved Fluellen is also valued for its ornamental value. The plant is often used in rock gardens and borders because of its bright yellow flowers and low-growing habit. It is also a good choice for container gardening.

Sharp-leaved Fluellen is a hardy plant that is easy to grow. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. The plant can tolerate dry conditions and is resistant to pests and diseases. It is a self-seeding plant and can spread easily, so it is important to keep it in check if you do not want it to take over your garden.

The Sharp-leaved Fluellen is also known by a variety of common names, including Sharp-leaved Wintergreen, Sharp-leaved Cancerwort, and Greater Snapdragon. The name "Fluellen" is derived from a character in Shakespeare's play, Henry V, who is said to have used the plant as a remedy for a sore throat.

The plant has a long history of use in traditional medicine, particularly in Europe and Asia. It was commonly used as a diuretic to increase urine output and as an astringent to treat diarrhea and other digestive problems. It was also used as a remedy for coughs and colds, and to reduce inflammation and fever.

Modern research has confirmed the plant's medicinal properties and has shown that it contains a number of compounds that have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-tumor properties. Studies have also shown that the plant has a diuretic effect, and may be useful in the treatment of hypertension and other conditions that require increased urine output.

The plant is also a valuable source of food for pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies. The bright yellow flowers are attractive to these insects, which are important for the pollination of many crops and wildflowers.

The Sharp-leaved Fluellen is a versatile plant that has many uses and benefits. It is an attractive addition to any garden and has a long history of use in traditional medicine. Its medicinal properties and potential health benefits make it a valuable plant for research and further study.

In addition to its medicinal and ornamental uses, the Sharp-leaved Fluellen has also been used in traditional folk practices for divination and protection. In some cultures, the plant is believed to have magical powers and has been used in rituals to ward off evil spirits and protect against negative energy.

The plant's small size and low-growing habit make it an ideal candidate for container gardening. It can be grown in small pots or window boxes, and its bright yellow flowers provide a cheerful splash of color. It is also a good choice for use in hanging baskets or as a ground cover.

One of the challenges of growing Sharp-leaved Fluellen is its tendency to self-seed and spread quickly. If you do not want the plant to take over your garden, it is important to keep it under control by removing any seedlings that appear or by planting it in a contained area.

Sharp-leaved Fluellen is a versatile and valuable plant that has many uses and benefits. Whether you are interested in its medicinal properties, its ornamental value, or its cultural significance, this little plant is sure to delight and inspire.

One interesting fact about the Sharp-leaved Fluellen is that it is able to grow in a wide variety of soils and conditions, including nutrient-poor soils, dry conditions, and areas with high levels of pollution. This resilience makes it a valuable plant for use in restoration and reclamation projects, as it can help to stabilize soil and prevent erosion.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the plant is known as xi yang shen, and is believed to have a cooling and moisturizing effect on the body. It is used to treat conditions such as dry mouth, thirst, and constipation.

The plant has also been studied for its potential use in the treatment of cancer. Researchers have found that it contains a number of compounds that have anti-tumor properties, and that it may be useful in the development of new cancer therapies.

In terms of its ecological impact, the Sharp-leaved Fluellen is considered to be a non-native invasive species in some parts of the world, including North America. It can outcompete native plants and disrupt local ecosystems, and in some cases, it may need to be managed or removed in order to prevent further spread.

Despite this, the plant remains a valuable resource for those interested in its medicinal and cultural significance. Whether you are a gardener looking to add a splash of color to your landscape, or a researcher interested in the plant's potential health benefits, Sharp-leaved Fluellen is a fascinating and multi-faceted plant with a rich history and many potential applications.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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