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Kidney Vetch

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 Kidney Vetch
Anthyllis vulneraria  

Distribution:  Native perennial scattered across the UK on dry grassland often near the sea.  It flourishes on chalky grasslands.
Habitat:  Short grassland on dry, alkaline soil; sunny sites. 
Description:  Low growing, sometimes prostrate plant; flowers may be yellow, red or purple in dense heads; flowering from May to September.
Uses:  In the Middle Ages kidney vetch was known to speed the healing of wounds.  Its common name refers to the idea that it could also cure kidney diseases due to its’ kidney shaped flowers.
Wildlife:  Source of food for the caterpillars of the Small Blue Butterfly and the Six Belted Clearwing Moth.  Nectar attracts bumble bees.
Other Names:  Butter Fingers, Fingers and Thumbs, Double Pincushion, Lamb’s Foot, Lady’s Finger.

Sowing Instructions for Seed:  It may be beneficial to gently rub the seeds between two sheets of sandpaper to aid water absorption or pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water to aid germination.  Sow in the spring or autumn either in trays in a cold frame or in the final flowering site.  The seed usually germinates in 2 - 4 weeks at 15°c. If planting in trays, prick the seedlings out when they are large enough to handle.  Plant them out in late spring or early summer.

Our plants and seeds are of native British origin.