Fall Wildflowers of New England
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Eyebright
Euphrasia nemorosa
F. Scrophulariaceae
General Description:

A small and unassuming little plant, eyebright measures approximately 10-38 cm. in height and is sprinkled with tiny, pale lavender or white, bilaterally symmetrical flowers. These flowers are arranged around a densely-leafed elongated spikelet that is positioned atop the terminal shoot of a slender, hairy, brown stem.

Euphrasia nemorosa
Flowers:

The tiny flowers of eyebright measure 8-13 mm. in length and possess beautifully intricate coloring and detail. This bilaterally symmetrical bloom has a fused corolla that opens into two lips: a small two-lobed upper lip and a larger lower lip that is divided into three palmately divided, notched lobes. Overall, the bloom is pale lavender or white. Each lobe has three dark-purple veins and the central lobe of the lower lip has a prominent, bright yellow honey spot. Bracts are green and surround the base of each flower.

Fruit:

Eyebright produces a small, capsule-like fruit.

Leaves:

The leaves of this plant are very small, measuring 6-20 mm. in length, slender, coarsely toothed, have brown tips, and are densely arranged along the length of the stem and throughout the flower cluster.

Habitat:

Eyebright grows best around fields and along roadsides.

Fun Facts:

Eyebright is a medicinal plant that, as indicated by its name, can be used as a remedy against weakening vision and a variety of eye diseases including cataracts and conjunctivitis. Eyebright can be used to treat sinusitis and also acts as an astringent.

Eyebright is a semi-parasitic plant. It relies on the root structures of surrounding plants for initial propagation as well as for a proportion of its nutrition throughout its life cycle.

Euphrasia nemorosa
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