Herb: Rest Harrow

Latin name: Ononis repens

Synonyms: Ononis arvensis, Ononis procurrens

Family: Leguminosae

Medicinal use of Rest Harrow:

The whole herb has been used in the treatment of bladder stones and to subdue delirium.

Description of the plant:


60 cm
(2 feet)

June to


Habitat of the herb:

Dry grassland on calcareous soils.

Edible parts of Rest Harrow:

Root - raw or cooked. A liquorice substitute. Soaked in cold water it makes a refreshing cold drink. The young shoots were at one time much used as a vegetable, being boiled, pickled or eaten in salads.

Propagation of the herb:

Scarify or pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and sow the seed in the middle of spring in situ. The seed can also be sown in a cold frame in the autumn. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in late spring. Division just before new growth begins in spring. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings, September in a cold frame.

Cultivation of Rest Harrow:

Dry grassland on calcareous soils.

Known hazards of Ononis repens:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.