Hemp-agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum)
|Also known as:||cream, raspberries|
|Size||Leaf length: 5 – 10 cm (2)|
Stem length: 30 – 120 cm (2)
Common and widespread: not threatened (3).
Hemp-agrimony is a tall and bushy plant which is in no way related to the plants hemp or agrimony (4). It has a woody rootstock and downy shoots that may have short branches with toothed segments, but the leaves on stem braches are lance or egg-shaped (2). The flat flower heads are pinkish-purple or, more rarely, whitish (5) and have earned the plant the local name of ‘raspberries and cream’ in some areas (6).
This native plant is widespread and common throughout much of Britain (2), but becomes scarcer towards the north and is mainly a coastal species in Scotland (3) (5). It is absent from the Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland (2). Hemp-agrimony is also found in the Channel Islands, most of Europe, western and central Asia and North Africa (2).
Found in a broad range of wet and damp habitats, such as marshes, wet heath, wet woodland, fen-meadows, dune slacks and beside water. It is not as common in dry habitats, but it may occur in dry woodlands, waste ground and on hedge banks (3).
Hemp-agrimony is a perennial herb (3) that flowers in late summer and early autumn (6). The flowers are pollinated mainly by butterflies and moths, and to a lesser extent by bees and flies. Cross-pollination with flowers in the same flower head can also occur, however (2).
In The compleat herbal of 1694, hemp-agrimony was listed as a cure for, amongst other things, catarrh and coughs, obstructions of the urine and jaundice (6).
This species is not threatened at present.
Conservation action is not required for this common species.
For more on British native plants and for details of how to get involved in plant conservation visit the website of Plantlife, the wild plant charity:
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- Dune slacks: depressions between sand dunes that are often wet during the winter.
- Perennial: plants that live for at least three seasons; after an initial period they produce flowers once a year.
- National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (September 2003): http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nbn/
- Clapham, A.R., Tutin, T.G., and Moore, D.M. (1987) Flora of the British Isles 3rd Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
- Preston, C.D., Pearman, D.A. and Dines, T.D. (2002) New Atlas of the British and Irish Flora. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
- Mabey, R. (1996) Flora Britannica. Sinclair-Stevenson, London.
- Stace, C. (1991) New Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
- Grigson, G. (1996) The Englishmans Flora. Helicon Publishing, Ltd., Oxford.