Herb: Fairybells

Latin name: Disporum trachycarpum

Synonyms: Prosartes trachycarpa

Family: Colchicaceae

Medicinal use of Fairybells:

The seed has been used to clear foreign objects from the eye. A fresh seed was inserted and the eye closed then rubbed until the seed was watered out with the foreign object clinging to it. The seeds were also placed in the eye overnight and an infusion of the bark used as an eyewash to treat snow-blindness. An infusion of the leaves has been used as a wash for wounds whilst a poultice of the dampened bruised leaves has been applied to bleeding wounds.

Description of the plant:


50 cm
(1 foot)

Habitat of the herb:

Wooded slopes, often by streams, or in aspen groves, to 3000 metres.

Edible parts of Fairybells:

Fruit - raw. A sweet flavour. The fruit is up to 10mm in diameter and is leathery rather than pulpy.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Use a lime-free compost and keep it moist. Stored seed requires 6 weeks cold stratification and should be sown as early in the year as possible. Germination usually takes place within 3 - 6 months or more at 15C. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring.

Cultivation of Fairybells:

Wooded slopes, often by streams, or in aspen groves, to 3000 metres.

Known hazards of Disporum trachycarpum:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.