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Adonis vernalis - L.

Common Name Pheasant's Eye, Spring pheasant's eye
Family Ranunculaceae
USDA hardiness 3-7
Known Hazards A toxic principle is present in very small quantities in the plant[7, 9, 13, 19, 65]. It is poorly absorbed so poisoning is unlikely[65].
Habitats Sunny grassy hills on dry calcareous soils[9]. A rare plant in most of its range, it has legal protection from gathering in most countries[238].
Range C. and S. Europe
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Adonis vernalis Pheasant

Adonis vernalis Pheasant


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Adonis vernalis is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3. It is in flower in March, and the seeds ripen from May to June. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map



 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

None known


Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antianxiety  Antiarrhythmic  Cardiotonic  Diuretic  Sedative  Vasoconstrictor

Medicinal Parts: Roots and whole plant[301]. Pheasant's eye has a long history of medicinal use and is still retained in the Pharmacopoeias of several European countries[268]. The plant contains cardiac glycosides similar to those found in the foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)[254]. These substances improve the heart's efficiency, increasing its output at the same time as slowing its rate[254]. It also has a sedative action and so is generally prescribed for patients whose hearts are beating too fast or irregularly[254]. The herb is not often prescribed, however, due to irregular absorption[268]. The herb is cardiotonic, diuretic, sedative and vasoconstrictor[4, 7, 9, 13, 46, 238]. It has sometimes been used internally as a cardiotonic with success where the better known foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) has failed - especially where there is also kidney disease[4]. The herb is also used in the treatment of low blood pressure and its strong diuretic action can be used to counter water retention[254]. It is included in many proprietary medicines, especially since its effects are not cumulative[238]. The plants are harvested every third year as they come into flower[7], they are dried for use in tinctures and liquid extracts[238]. The herb does not store well so stocks should be replaced every year[238]. Use with great caution[9], see the notes above on toxicity. The plant is used in homeopathy as a treatment for angina[254]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine approve Adonis vernalis for arrhythmia, and nervous heart complaints (see [302] for critics of commission E)


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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses


Cultivation details

Grows well in any ordinary garden soil that is not too heavy[1]. Prefers a moist well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade[4, 200]. Easily grown in a very well-drained rather dry soil in sun or part shade[187]. Plants flower better when growing in a sunny position[268]. This plant is adored by slugs and is therefore very difficult to grow in the open garden where slugs are common[187]. A very ornamental plant[1], it is rather rare in the wild so only cultivated plants should be harvested[7]. A greedy plant inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes[54].


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Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe or else it can be slow and erratic to germinate[200, 238]. Sow the seed in partial shade in rich soil in September or March[111]. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the cold frame for their first season. Plant out when dormant in the autumn[K]. Division in early spring or in autumn. The divisions can be difficult to establish[200], so it is probably best to pot them up and keep them in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing away well.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Adonis aestivalisPheasant's Eye, Summer pheasant's eyeAnnual0.3 5-9  LMHSNM01 
Adonis amurensis Perennial0.3 3-7  LMHSNM01 
Mentzelia multifloraManyflowered Mentzelia, Adonis blazingstarPerennial0.0 0-0  LMHNDM21 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Readers comment

Choijamts Gotov   Sat Mar 1 2008

I'm from Mongolia. My name is Professor CHOIJAMTS GOTOV My titel is Head department Pharmacology of Health Sciencies University of Mongolia. Adonis is one of very interesting and important medicinal plant from antion time steel using for Mongolian traditional medicine under the name ''Barbad'' In mongolia it is two different spasses of Adonis. From of them Adonis Mongolica is endemic. We are studing and tring to grow but it is very hard. Because it is very changable to the handling. Also I need information about gen and genomic sdudy data of Adonis. For me very interesting wy Adonis keep in cardiac glycosides ???

musa kocatepe   Fri Apr 25 2008

ý want to buy adonis vernalis died herb

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