Botanical Name: Serratula tinctoria
Species: S. tinctoria
Synonyms: Hemistepta lyrata
Common Names: Dyer’s plumeless saw-wort or Saw-wort,
Habitat: Serratula tinctoria is native to Europe, including Britain, south and east from Scandanavia to N. Spain, Balkans and Siberia. It grows on wood margins, clearings, rides and open grasslands on moist basic soils over limestone or chalk.
Serratula tinctoria is a herbaceous perennial hemicryptophyte, growing to 1 m (3ft 3in). Flowering stem erect, pale-yellowish green, often tinted purplish especially near the base, glabrous or with some arachnoid hairs, grooved, 4–90(120) cm, branched above. Leaves 3–25 cm × 1–8 cm, green on upper surface, paler beneath, sub-glabrous or puberulent, rolled when young, net veined with anastomising veins occasionally slightly raised below, coarsely to finely serrate with purplish bristle?tipped teeth, ovate-lanceolate and varying from undivided to deeply lyrate pinnatifid or almost pinnate with narrow acute lateral lobes and a long, narrowly elliptical acute terminal lobe. Basal rosette and lower stem leaves stalked, upper sessile or short petiolate, with narrow lateral lobes and a larger ± narrow elliptic terminal lobe. Petiole channelled. Leaves dark green, sub-glabrous or puberulant, margins with fine purplish bristle-tipped teeth.
It is in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). and is pollinated by Flies, bees. The plant is not self-fertile.
Cultivation: Succeeds in any well drained soil in a sunny position. Suitable for the wild flower garden where it may naturalize.
Edible Uses: Young leaves and flower buds are cooked and eaten. This report was for Hemistepta lyrata, which is said in the same report to be a synonym for this species.
Medicinal Uses: Astringent, vulnerary.
Other Uses: A fine yellow dye is obtained from the juice of the plant, it is very durable.
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