Eyebright: A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information about eyebright

Euphrasia officinales is an annual flowering plant of the Orobanchaceae family. It can grow from 2 to 8 inches high and flowers from July to September.

On the mountains and near the sea, or in poor soil, it is often a tiny plant, only an inch or so high, with the stem scarcely branched, but in rich soil it assumes the habit of a minute shrub and forms a spreading tuft, 8 or 9 inches high. The stem is erect and wiry, either unbranched in small specimens, or with many opposite branches. The leaves are 1/6 to 1/2 inch long and about 1/4 inch broad, opposite to one another on the lower portion of the stem, alternate above, more often lance-shaped, though sometimes, as already stated, much broader, and with four to five teeth on each side. The flowers, white, or lilac and purple-veined, are in terminal spikes, with leafy bracts interspersed. The corolla is two-lipped, its lower, tube-like portion being enclosed in a green calyx, tipped with four teeth. The upper lip is two-lobed; the lower lip is spreading and three-lobed, each lobe being notched. A yellow patch emphasizes the central lobe and purple 'honey guides' on both upper and lower lips. Four stamens, with brown, downy anthers lie under the upper lip, in pairs, one behind the other; on the underside of each anther is a stiff spur, the two lowest spurs longer than the others and projecting over the throat of the flower. The seeds in all kinds of the flowers are produced in tiny, flattened capsules, and are numerous and ribbed.

common names & nomenclature
The name Euphrasia is of Greek origin, derived from Euphrosyne (gladness), the name of one of the three graces who was distinguished for her joy and mirth.

Also known as:
eyebright, eyewort, euphrasia rostkoviana

Eyebright, the delicate flower
Eyebright: Where in the World
habitat and range for eyebright

Eyebright is distributed over Europe, Northern and Western Asia and North America.

Eyebright: Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting eyebright

Many eyebright species are found in alpine or sub-alpine meadows where snow is common. They are semi-parasitic on grasses and other plants in moist grasslands or pastures.

Succeeds in most soils, preferring chalk or limestone.

Sow the seed outdoors in early spring amongst grass in a moist but not marshy soil.

Eyebright should be harvested when in flower and can be dried and powdered for later use.

Store dried eyebright powder in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.