Spiny restharrow

Ononis spinosa
Bean family (Fabaceae)

(all credits and rights of the Wikipedia source apply)

Ononis spinosa is a plant belonging to the family Fabaceae, that is commonly known as spiny restharrow or just restharrow. It is found throughout much of Europe including Britain, but seldom as far north as Scotland.


Spiny restharrow is an erect, bushy perennial. The wiry, branched stem is downy and nearly always spiny, and grows to a height of 18 in (46 cm). The leaves are small, dark green, oval or trefoil, with toothed leaf-like stipules at their base. The flowers are deep pink and white, with the wings shorter than the hooked keel, and the calyx usually shorter than the pod.

Distribution and habitat

Spiny restharrow is found in southern temperate areas of Europe and Siberia. In the British Isles it occurs predominantly in central and southeastern England. Its typical habitat is lime-rich but nutrient-poor grassland on chalk and heavy, calcareous soils. It grows in the Plaster's Green Meadows, an SSSI in Lincolnshire.

Historical use

In medieval Russia, it used to be used for manufacturing Bulat steel. Though the original process is now lost, it is known it involved dipping the finished weapon into a vat containing a special liquid of which spiny restharrow extract was a part (the plant's name in Russian, stalnik, reflects its historical role), then holding the sword aloft while galloping on a horse, allowing it to dry and harden against the wind.

In traditional Russian herbal medicine, it is used as an anodyne, antiphlogistic, aperient, coagulant and diuretic. It is considered helpful in treating urinary catarrh, kidney inflammation, and rheumatism, as well as aiding those who accumulate uric acid and are susceptible to kidney stones. A decoction of restharrow is used to treat eczema and other skin problems. It is used over an average course of six weeks to treat hemorrhoids, chronic constipation and infections of the anus.


External links

  • Media related to Ononis spinosa at Wikimedia Commons



WWW info

Continu searching
Size Shape Colour Ranging
Size  Small       Shape  Lip         Colour Ranging  Branched
Small Lip Branched
0 LookAlikes (LA):
Spiny restharrow
Dornige Hauhechel
Bugrane épineuse
Detiene bueyes
Ononis spinosa [L.]
Стальник колючий