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Blackstonia perfoliata

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Gentianaceae (Gentian)
Life Cycle:
Annual or Biennial
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall
Cliffs, grassland, heathland, meadows, riversides, rocky places, sand dunes, scrub, sea cliffs, seaside, wasteland, waterside, woodland.

Yellow, 8 petals
Yellow-wort's flowers, adorned with their bright yellow petals, possess a delicate allure that captivates observers. Each blossom, composed of four distinct petals, forms a star-like shape, radiating warmth and vitality amidst the verdant landscape. These floral marvels, borne on slender stems, sway gently in the breeze, their intricate beauty a testament to nature's artistry. Amidst the lush greenery, the cheerful hue of Yellow-wort's flowers adds a touch of splendour, attracting pollinators with their nectar-rich bounty. In the dappled sunlight, the petals of the blooms gleam, casting a golden glow that enchants all who behold them.
Yellow-wort's fruits, though often inconspicuous, are nonetheless intriguing in their own right. These diminutive capsules, borne on slender stems amidst the foliage, contain the promise of future generations. Initially green and unassuming, they gradually mature into small, rounded structures, adorned with subtle hints of colour. Within each fruit lies the potential for new life, encapsulated in tiny seeds awaiting their moment of dispersal. As the seasons progress, these fruits develop a delicate charm, blending seamlessly with the surrounding landscape. Though not as showy as the plant's vibrant flowers, Yellow-wort's fruits play a vital role in the cycle of regeneration, ensuring the continued survival of this resilient species.
Yellow-wort's leaves, arranged in opposite pairs along the stems, exhibit a striking verdant hue that contrasts against the backdrop of the sunlit landscape. Each leaf, clasping the stem with its serrated edges, contributes to the plant's distinctive appearance. Adorned with veins that branch intricately from the central midrib, these leaves possess a delicate intricacy that belies their robust nature. Despite their slender form, Yellow-wort's leaves boast a resilience that enables them to withstand the rigours of their arid habitat. Their glossy surface reflects the sunlight, adding a subtle sheen to the surrounding foliage. As the seasons progress, these leaves serve as a testament to the plant's endurance, remaining steadfast amidst changing conditions.
Yellow-wort, with its vibrant blooms and verdant foliage, possesses a subtle fragrance that evokes the essence of a sun-drenched meadow. While not as pronounced as some other flowering plants, its delicate scent carries hints of fresh grass and earthy undertones. As the gentle breeze wafts through the landscape, the fragrance of Yellow-wort mingles with the surrounding flora, creating an ambience of tranquillity and natural beauty. Though not overpowering, its fragrance lends an enchanting allure to the air, inviting observers to immerse themselves fully in the sensory experience of the outdoors. Whether encountered in a wild meadow or cultivated garden, the subtle fragrance of Yellow-wort adds an extra dimension to the sensory tapestry of the natural world, enriching the landscape with its understated charm.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Blackstonia perfoliata, also known as yellow-wort, is a perennial herb that belongs to the family Gentianaceae. It is native to Europe, and typically grows in damp meadows, along streams, and in other wet habitats. The plant has small, yellow flowers and perfoliate leaves (leaves that surround the stem). It is considered a uncommon plant in many parts of Europe and is not commonly used in traditional medicine or as a weed.


Yellow-wort, scientifically known as Blackstonia perfoliata, is a perennial herb that belongs to the family Orobanchaceae. It is native to Europe and can be found growing in grassland, meadows, and along roadsides.

One of the most distinctive features of Yellow-wort is its bright yellow flowers, which bloom from June to August. The flowers are arranged in spikes and have five petals each. The leaves of the plant are opposite and sessile, meaning they are attached directly to the stem without a stem or stalk.

Yellow-wort is a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of soils, as long as they are well-drained. It prefers full sun and can tolerate drought conditions. The plant can grow up to 60 cm (24 inches) tall and has a spreading habit, making it an excellent choice for naturalizing in a wildflower meadow or in a naturalized garden setting.

This plant is a great option for gardeners looking to attract pollinators to their gardens, as it is an important nectar source for bees, butterflies and other insects. The flowers of the Yellow-wort are also a valuable food source for many species of moths.

Yellow-wort is easy to grow and care for, and can be propagated by seed or by dividing the rootstock in the spring. It is also an excellent plant for naturalizing in a wildflower meadow, as it is tolerant of a wide range of conditions and can spread rapidly.

In summary, Yellow-wort is a beautiful, hardy and easy-to-grow perennial herb that offers a long season of bright yellow flowers, and is an ideal choice for naturalizing in a wildflower meadow or for adding a splash of color to a naturalized garden. It also provides a valuable food source for pollinators, making it an essential addition to any garden that supports wildlife.

In addition to its beauty and value as a pollinator plant, Yellow-wort has also been used in traditional medicine. The plant has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including wounds, kidney stones, and as a diuretic. The roots of the plant have been used to make a tea, which is said to have a soothing effect on the urinary tract.

Yellow-wort is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties and has been used to reduce swelling and pain in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. The plant has also been used to treat respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis.

One of the most interesting aspects of Yellow-wort is its perfoliate leaves. The leaves appear to be wrapped around the stem, giving the impression that the stem is passing through the leaves. This unique feature is the reason for the plant's Latin name, "perfoliata", which means "through the leaves."

Yellow-wort can also be used in horticulture, particularly as an ornamental ground cover. It can also be used to stabilize soil on banks and slopes. When planted in masses, the yellow-wort can create a striking display in a garden or meadow.

In addition to its ornamental and medicinal uses, Yellow-wort is also considered an important plant for wildlife. The seeds of the plant are a valuable food source for small mammals, birds and insects, and the leaves and stems provide cover and nesting sites for a variety of species.

The plant is also an important food source for the caterpillars of the Grayling butterfly, which is a UK BAP Priority species, meaning it's considered under threat of extinction. This makes Yellow-wort an important plant to include in wildflower meadows and other habitats that support wildlife.

Yellow-wort is also considered a good indicator of ancient grassland, and is often used in grassland restoration projects. This is because it's a species that thrives in open, sunny conditions and can't compete with taller, more aggressive plants.

Yellow-wort is also known to be a host plant for the root-parasitic plant Common broomrape (Orobanche minor), which often growing at the base of the plant. Common broomrape is a plant species that lives on the roots of other plants, and it is considered a pest in many agricultural systems.

In terms of cultivation, Yellow-wort is a hardy and easy-to-grow plant that can be propagated by seed or by dividing the rootstock. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil, and can tolerate drought conditions. It can be planted in masses or as a ground cover, and can also be used in meadow or prairie restoration projects.

In conclusion, Yellow-wort is an important plant for wildlife, traditional medicine and horticulture. It is a versatile plant that provides benefits to both people and wildlife. It is a great option for naturalizing in a wildflower meadow or adding a splash of color to a naturalized garden. It is also a valuable food source for pollinators, and an important plant for grassland restoration and meadow creation.

30 Yellow-wort Facts

  1. Yellow-wort, scientifically known as Blackstonia perfoliata, belongs to the Gentianaceae family.
  2. It is native to Europe and parts of Asia and North Africa.
  3. Yellow-wort typically grows in dry, sunny habitats with well-drained soil.
  4. The plant is characterized by its bright yellow flowers, which bloom from June to September.
  5. Its flowers are star-shaped and have four petals.
  6. Yellow-wort is an annual or biennial herbaceous plant.
  7. It grows up to 30-50 cm in height.
  8. The leaves of Yellow-wort are arranged in opposite pairs and are clasping the stem, giving it a distinctive appearance.
  9. Despite its name, Yellow-wort's stems and leaves are not typically yellow; they are usually green.
  10. The plant's stems are often square-shaped.
  11. Yellow-wort has a long history of traditional medicinal uses, including as a treatment for digestive issues and fevers.
  12. It contains bitter compounds, which are thought to have medicinal properties.
  13. Yellow-wort is sometimes used in herbal remedies for its purported digestive benefits.
  14. The plant has also been used historically as a yellow dye for textiles.
  15. Yellow-wort is known for its tolerance to drought and poor soil conditions.
  16. It is often found growing in disturbed habitats such as roadsides and waste areas.
  17. Yellow-wort attracts various pollinators, including bees and butterflies.
  18. The plant is sometimes grown as an ornamental in rock gardens or dry, sunny borders.
  19. It is considered a beneficial plant in some ecosystems due to its ability to stabilize soil and prevent erosion.
  20. Yellow-wort can be propagated from seeds.
  21. In some regions, Yellow-wort is considered invasive, particularly in areas where it has been introduced outside of its native range.
  22. The plant is not typically grazed by livestock due to its bitter taste.
  23. Yellow-wort is a source of food for certain insect species.
  24. The genus name "Blackstonia" honors the English botanist Sir William Blackstone.
  25. Yellow-wort has been the subject of botanical research due to its unique morphology and ecological adaptations.
  26. The plant's flowers may close during cloudy weather or at night.
  27. Yellow-wort is sometimes confused with other yellow-flowered plants, such as St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum), but they belong to different botanical families.
  28. In some cultures, Yellow-wort has symbolic significance, representing endurance or resilience.
  29. The plant has been referenced in literature and folklore throughout history.
  30. Conservation efforts may target preserving natural habitats where Yellow-wort thrives to protect its biodiversity.


Yellow-wort filmed at Barrow Wake in Gloucestershire on the 25th June 2023.


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