At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What is Anthyllis?

Anna B. Smith
Anna B. Smith

Anthyllis is the name of a genus of plants in the Leguminosae family, more commonly known as the pea family. It contains both herbaceous plants and shrubs. These plants are recognizable for their small, spherical shade flowers that are formed from multiple buds. They grow in a wide variety of colors and are generally found in rocky terrain.

There are several species in the anthyllis genus, including vulnaria, montanus, barba-jovis, erinacea, and hermanniae. These plants generally grow to a height of less than two feet (0.5 m) and produce small flowers that can range in color from yellow to reddish-orange. There are also blue, purple, white, and pink varieties — and their leaves of these plants resemble those of ferns. Anthyllis, which are also sometimes known as kidney vetch, bloom from June to September and seed between July and September.

The plants are native to the northeastern portion of the United States, but can also be found in California. They are also common throughout Europe. Anthyllis grow best in dry climates and prefer rocky, shallow soils.

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

These flowering shrubs are perennials and typically survive frost well. They may be grown from seedlings or from soft wood cuttings. These seedlings should be scarified before placing them into soil. To scarify the seeds, simply soak them overnight in water left at room temperature.

Anthyllis shrubs need direct sunlight to grow well. They cannot grow in shade, but are hardy in drought conditions. The plants also prefer a basic, alkaline soil and are well-adapted to grow in rock gardens.

Herbaceous plants are those that emit an aroma and may be used for cooking and medicinal purposes. Anthyllis can be used to treat different types of wounds. Historically, both the flower heads and roots were used in poultices, which were applied to cuts and bruises, to heal them. When its dried flower heads are brewed in boiling water, this herbal tea may be used to cleanse the body’s digestive system and reduce external inflammation.

The ability of anthyllis to reduce swelling makes it a common ingredient in certain types of organic cosmetics. When applied to the skin, it can diminish the irritation and redness often associated with acne and blemishes. It can also reduce the appearance of pores and help achieve an even skin tone across the face.

To grow this plant in a home garden, place seedlings or soft wood in the soil in autumn. Do not bury them deeply. Plants should be placed in a sunny, well-drained spot. It can take about two months for it to germinate.

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Man mowing the grass
      Man mowing the grass