Eyebright

Euphrasia officinalis

  1. Wildlife
  2. Wildflowers
  3. Eyebright

About

Eyebright is a low-growing annual plant found in all kinds of short grasslands, from the top of cliffs to windswept heaths, wildflower meadows to downlands. There are about 20 species of Eyebright and around 60 hybrids, which are all very similar and difficult to tell apart from each other. These species are generally semi-parasitic, feeding off the nutrients from the roots of nearby grasses. For this reason, they are quite useful plants in terms of keeping vigorous grasses at bay in order that wildflowers can thrive.

How to identify

Eyebright has oval, sharply toothed leaves, and white flowers that are violet-like with purple veins and yellow centres. Its flowers appear between May and September.

Where to find it

Widespread.

Habitats

When to find it

  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many grassland nature reserves for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. Careful grazing with traditional breeds, hay-cutting at the right time and scrub clearance are just some of the ways these fragile habitats are kept in good condition - supporting wildflowers like Eyebright and, in turn, invertebrates and the larger animals that prey on them. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too, and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.

Species information

Common name
Eyebright
Latin name
Euphrasia officinalis
Category
Wildflowers
Statistics
Height: up to 25cm
Conservation status
Common, although a number of eyebrights (Euphrasia species), including Chalk Eyebright and Glandular Eyebright, are classified as Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.