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Common Restharrow

Ononis repens

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:
Fabaceae (Pea)
Also in this family:
Alpine Milk-vetch, Alsike Clover, Birdsfoot, Birdsfoot Clover, Bird's-foot Trefoil, Bithynian Vetch, Bitter Vetch, Black Broom, Black Medick, Bladder Senna, Broad Bean, Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea, Bur Medick, Burrowing Clover, Bush Vetch, Clustered Clover, Common Broom, Common Gorse, Common Laburnum, Common Vetch, Crimson Clover, Crown Vetch, Dragon's Teeth, Dwarf Gorse, Dyer's Greenweed, False Acacia, Fine-leaved Vetch, Fodder Vetch, Garden Lupin, Garden Pea, Goat's Rue, Grass Vetchling, Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil, Hairy Bird's-foot Trefoil, Hairy Greenweed, Hairy Tare, Hairy Vetchling, Hairy-fruited Broom, Haresfoot Clover, Hop Trefoil, Horseshoe Vetch, Hungarian Vetch, Kidney Vetch, Knotted Clover, Large Trefoil, Lesser Trefoil, Lucerne, Marsh Pea, Meadow Vetchling, Narrow-leaved Bird's-foot Trefoil, Narrow-leaved Everlasting Pea, Narrow-leaved Vetch, Nootka Lupin, Norfolk Everlasting Pea, Orange Birdsfoot, Petty Whin, Purple Milk-vetch, Purple Oxytropis, Red Clover, Reversed Clover, Ribbed Melilot, Rough Clover, Russell Lupin, Sainfoin, Scorpion Senna, Scottish Laburnum, Sea Clover, Sea Pea, Sickle Medick, Slender Bird's-foot Trefoil, Slender Tare, Slender Trefoil, Small Melilot, Small Restharrow, Smooth Tare, Spanish Broom, Spanish Gorse, Spiny Restharrow, Spotted Medick, Spring Vetch, Strawberry Clover, Suffocated Clover, Sulphur Clover, Tall Melilot, Toothed Medick, Tree Lupin, Tuberous Pea, Tufted Vetch, Twin-headed Clover, Two-flowered Everlasting Pea, Upright Clover, Upright Vetch, Western Clover, Western Gorse, White Broom, White Clover, White Lupin, White Melilot, Wild Liquorice, Wood Vetch, Yellow Oxytropis, Yellow Vetch, Yellow Vetchling, Zigzag Clover
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall
Beaches, grassland, meadows, roadsides, rocky places, saltmarshes, sand dunes, scrub, seaside, wasteland.

Pink, 5 petals
Pink pea-like flowers borne in leafy spikes.
A linear seed pod (legume) containing 1 to 3 seeds.
The leaves are stalked and alternately arranged along the stems. They are compound leaves with 1 to 3 serrated, round to elliptical leaflets. The terminal leaflet is stalked. Large stipules are present at the bases of the leaves.
The flowers are not scented but the hairs on the leaves give out a resinous smell when bruised or damaged.
Other Names:
Cammock, Creeping Restharrow, Land Whin, Petty Whin, Wild Liquorice, Wild Liquorice Root.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Ononis repens, also known as creeping restharrow, is a perennial herb that is native to Europe and Asia. It is typically found in dry, rocky or sandy habitats and it is often used as a medicinal plant. The root and the aerial parts of the plant have been traditionally used to treat a variety of ailments such as urinary tract disorders, kidney stones, and rheumatoid arthritis. It has also been used as a diuretic and as a pain reliever.


Common Restharrow (Ononis repens) is a flowering plant that is native to Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa. It belongs to the Fabaceae family and is also known as Creeping Restharrow or Wild Liquorice. The plant is a herbaceous perennial, meaning that it dies back in the winter and regrows in the spring. In this blog, we'll take a closer look at the Common Restharrow, its characteristics, and its uses.


Common Restharrow is a low-growing plant that can reach up to 50 centimeters in height. Its stem is hairy and woody at the base, with numerous thin branches. The leaves are alternate and compound, consisting of three oval-shaped leaflets that are slightly hairy. The flowers are pink or purple and appear in clusters at the end of the branches from June to September. The fruit is a cylindrical, hairy pod containing several seeds.


Common Restharrow is a plant that prefers dry and sunny habitats, and it can often be found growing in grasslands, hedgerows, and on sandy soils. It is a common plant in many parts of Europe, and is often found in disturbed areas, such as roadside verges and waste ground.


Common Restharrow has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, and it has a wide range of applications. Its root has been used as a diuretic, to treat urinary tract infections, and to relieve edema. It has also been used to treat rheumatism, gout, and joint pain. In addition, it has been used as a digestive aid, and to treat respiratory infections, such as coughs and bronchitis.

The plant is also used as a food source for livestock, and its seeds have been used as a coffee substitute.

Common Restharrow is a versatile plant that has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. It is also a common plant in many parts of Europe, and is an important food source for livestock. Its low-growing habit and attractive flowers make it a popular choice for gardens, and it is a plant that is well worth getting to know. Whether you're interested in the plant's medicinal properties, or simply appreciate its beauty, Common Restharrow is a plant that is sure to impress.

More Information about Common Restharrow

While Common Restharrow is a beautiful and useful plant, it should be noted that it can also be invasive in certain areas. The plant can spread rapidly through its creeping roots, which can make it difficult to control in some situations. As a result, it is important to be mindful of its growth habits and to use it responsibly.

In addition to its medicinal uses and its role as a food source, Common Restharrow also has cultural and historical significance. The plant has been used in traditional European medicine for centuries, and it is often mentioned in herbal texts and folklore. In some cultures, it has been associated with protection and good luck, and has been used in rituals and ceremonies.

Overall, Common Restharrow is a plant that is both beautiful and useful. Its long history of use in traditional medicine, as well as its role as a food source and cultural symbol, make it an important plant in many ways. Whether you're a gardener, herbalist, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, Common Restharrow is a plant that is well worth learning more about.


Video 1: Common Restharrow filmed in Orford, Suffolk on the 29th June 2022.


Video 2: Common Restharrow filmed at Leckhampton Hill in Gloucestershire on the 29th June 2023.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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