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Agrimonia eupatoria - Agrimony

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Rosales - Family: Rosaceae

Agrimony, Agrimonia eupatoria

Description

Typically up to 50 cm tall but exceptionally twice that height, Agrimony (also referred to as Common Agrimony) has long erect moderately densely-packed spikes of yellow flowers 5 to 8 mm across, each having five petals and up to 20 stamens.

Leaves of Agrimony

On the lower half of the unbranching flower stems there are opposite pairs of pinnate toothed leaves and small toothed leaflets between them.

Close-up of Agrimony flowers

Distribution

This perennial wildflower is common and widespread throughout England, Wales and Ireland. In Scotland it is common in the south but less so in the north. Agrimony is native to Europe and parts of western Asia.

Habitat

Agrimony grows in both wet and dry grassland including on riverbanks, in hedgerows, on woodland edges, on field margins and on disturbed waste ground.

Flowering Times

In Britain and Ireland you can see flowering spikes of Agrimony from June right through until late September.

Uses

Agrimony is used as a larval foodplant by the Grizzled skipper butterfly Pyrgus malvae and some other skipper butterflies.

Etymology

Agrimonia, the genus name, comes rom Greek argema, an eye-disease for which plants in this genus were thought have medicinal properties. The specific epithet eupatoria also comes from Greek name and refers to Mithridates Eupator, King of Pontus (120 to 63 BC), who is reported to have used this wildflower as an antidote to a poison by a process now referred to as mithridatism. (Other sources suggest that the specific epithet eupatoria means 'having hooked sepals').

Similar Species

Wild Mignonette Reseda lutea has a growth form similar to Agrimony, but its flowers are much smaller, more densely packed and a more creamy-yelolw.

The Agrimony plants shown on this page were photographed in Wales during June and July.


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