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Ononis spinosa - L.

Common Name Spiny Rest Harrow
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Chalk and limestone grassland, stony hillsides and open pine forests[187], mainly on dry stony ground[7].
Range Most of Europe, including Britain, to N. Africa and temperate Asia.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Ononis spinosa Spiny Rest Harrow


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Ononis spinosa Spiny Rest Harrow
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Ononis spinosa is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower from May to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Synonyms

O. campestris. O. procurrens.

Habitats

 Meadow;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses:

Young shoots - cooked[2, 105]. Used as a potherb[183]. Roots - chewed for their liquorice-like flavour[183]. Flowers - raw. They are used as a decoration on salads[7].

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.

Antirheumatic;  Antitussive;  Aperient;  Diuretic;  Lithontripic.

The roots, leaves and flowers are antitussive, aperient, diuretic and lithontripic[7, 9, 13, 21, 46]. The root contains a fixed oil that is anti-diuretic and an essential oil that is diuretic. If the diuretic action is required then the root should be infused and not decocted or the essential oil will be evaporated[254]. An infusion is used in the treatment of dropsy, inflammation of the bladder and kidneys, rheumatism and chronic skin disorders[9]. The roots are used occasionally, they are harvested in the autumn, cut into slices and carefully dried for later use[9]. The young shoots are more commonly used, either fresh or dried[9]. They can be harvested throughout the summer[9]. A cough mixture is made from the bark[13].

Other Uses

None known

Cultivation details

Prefers a sunny position in a well-drained neutral to alkaline soil[200]. Succeeds in poor soils, the plant often becoming spiny in such a situation[17]. Similar to O. repens but this species is not rhizomatous[200]. Mature roots are very tough and the plant gained its common name of 'Rest Harrow' because ploughs and harrows would be unable to break through it (in the days before heavy machinery was used on the land!). The whole plant is pleasantly scented when bruised[245]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200].

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Propagation

Scarify or pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and sow the seed in the middle of spring in situ[200]. The seed can also be sown in a cold frame in the autumn. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in late spring[200]. Division just before new growth begins in spring[200]. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings, September in a cold frame[111].

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 NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Ononis repensRest Harrow, Common restharrow21

 

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Author

L.

Botanical References

17200

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