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UK Nature  > Wild Flowers  > Red & Red Wild Flowers  >
Odontites verna

Common Name(s):   Red Bartsia
Scientific Name:   Odontites verna

Odontites verna, more commonly known as Red Bartsia, is a much overlooked plant with a dusty, careworn appearance, due to its dense covering of fine hairs. It is branched and has toothed, oblong to lanceolate leaves in opposite pairs. The small, purplish-pink flowers are borne two at a time in the upper leaf axils. All the flowers on one stem face in the same direction. Red bartsia fastens onto the roots of neighbouring grasses, taking water and minerals from them; as a result the affected grasses' growth will be stunted. It was once regarded as offering a cure for toothache and this explains the first part of its botanical name, odons being the Greek for tooth. Carder bees and also a specific solitary bee feed on red bartsia.

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