Kidney Vetch - Anthyllis vulneraria - Western Isles Blue Wildflowers

Harebells - Western Isles Wildflowers

Kidney Vetch - Yellow Wildflowers
Kidney vetch as seen all over the UK and Scotland - is also on show in the summer months here in The Western Isles.

Yellow - Orange & Red Wildflower

A really pretty wildflower, especially when you see it en mass, with lots of the small yellow with splashes of orange and red on its flower heads.

Some think of this plant almost like a weed, but others cultivate it in rockeries

The flower head is crowded with many small flowers each with a woolly calyx. The flowers can vary from very pale yellow through to orange. You will often see that some of the clustered Flowerheads are burnt out and almost dead - whilst those next to it may be new ones with the vibrant yellow, orange colours.

A short to medium height plant this perennial vetch is characterised by its silky pinnate leaves and flower head crowded with many small flowers each with a woolly calyx. Kidney vetch flowers can vary from very pale yellow through to orange and occasionally crimson but our plants are a typical mid yellow

Kidney Vetch
These yellow wildflowers show their heads May through to September. Rounded heads of yellow-orange flowers, although occasionally the pink, white and red species also are to be seen.

Frequently seen Near The Coast

They are frequently seen near to the coast, on the dunes or on the sandy itself. Kidney vetch likes the same type of soil as the machair's here on the islands so you can often see it in the grassy machair as well.

It is a plant that easily spreads. The kidney vetch grows up to 6-0cm in height.

Nectar For Insects
The Flowerheads provide food for butterfly larvae. These wildflowers give nectar and pollen for bees and beetles. It is the sole food plant for the caterpillars of the small blue butterfly, which is why this plant is really important. Kidney vetch is the foodplant of the small blue butterfly larvae.


The seeds of the lovely yellow wildflower are very tiny and the seedpod just carries the one seed








Leaves - Stem
The kidney vetch has a fragile stem and long narrow leaves. The leaves are alternate, stalked–stalkless, stipulate. Basal leaves are a glaucous greyish-green are irregularly lobed, sometimes very deeply so, on a stalk as long as the leaf.

Latin Name
The latter part of its name Vulneraria means "wound healer"

Common Names
It has been christened with many common names such as Ladies' Fingers, Lamb's Toes, Kidney Vetch, Staunchwort, Butter Fingers, Fingers and Thumbs, Double Pincushion, Lamb’s Foot.

Click pictures below for larger photographs


Woundwort. Its common name is derived from the fact that it could also cure kidney diseases due to its’ kidney shaped flowers.Dry Habitat
It prefers a dry habitat, on sea cliffs and mountain ledges or open limy grassland

Covered in Long White Hairs
Almost the whole plant, especially the flowers and flower-heads, are covered in long soft white hairs.

Harebells Amongst The Machair - Hebrides Wildflowers
Kindney Vetch - Hebrides Wildflowers

Kidney Vetch was once used as a remedy for kidney disorders but is now often cultivated in rock gardens.

Medicines From Kidney Vetch

The properties in the kidney vetch have been used in the past to produce medicines and creams to reduce swelling.

Kidney Vetch - Warm Tea Infusion
A warm tea like infusion has also been used to wash wounds and also even as a means of preventing and keeping vomiting at bay.

The medicinal part of the plant is the flower

Kidney vetch grows in calcareous soil , which is why it is prolific in the western isles machairs

Kidney Vetch Hebrides Flora
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