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Euphrasia nemorosa

Euphrasia nemorosa (Pers.) Wallr.

Euphrasia americana auct. p.p.

Euphrasia arctica Lange ex Rostr. ssp. borealis (Townsend) Yeo

Euphrasia borealis (Townsend) Wettst.

Euphrasia canadensis auct. non Townsend

Euphrasia curta (Fr.) Wettst.

Euphrasia officinalis auct. non L.

Euphrasia pectinata auct. non Ten.

Euphrasia tatarica auct. non Fisch. ex Spreng.

Common Eyebright

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderLamialesAromatic herbs and shrubs, including lavender, lilac, olive, jasmine, ash, teak, snapdragon, sesame, psyllium, garden sage, mint, basil, and rosemary
FamilyOrobanchaceaeBroomrape family of parasitic plants
GenusEuphrasiaMedieval Latin eufrasia, from Greek euphrasía, “cheerfulness, gladness”
SpeciesnemorosaGrowing in groves or woods

About plant names...

Common eyebright is a North American native. It appears in anthropogenic (i.e. human-disturbed) habitats. It is hemiparasitic: it derives part of its energy by siphoning it from other plants, in this case the roots of some grasses. The rest comes from photosynthesis as with most plants. The name “eyebright” reflects its use at one time to treat eye diseases and improve vision.

Plants: 4-15" (10-38 cm) in height, heavily branched. Usually it is less than 6" (15 cm) high, and easy to miss.

Leaves: ⅛-½" (5-15 mm) long, sessile, with 7-11 coarse teeth.

Flowers: Flowers are ¼-½" (8-13 mm) long, generally tubular, and have bilateral symmetry. Flowers are white or pale lavendar. They are easily overlooked due to their small size, but close examination reveals purple lines and a yellow spot in the throat, three notched lower lips, and an upper lip with two lobes.

Fruits: Seeds are ¹/₃₂-¹/₁₆" (1-2 mm) long, and narrowly winged.

Online References:

Euphrasia nemorosa on web.ewu.edu (Excellent photos)

Euphrasia nemorosa on Fall Wildflowers of New England

Euphrasia nemorosa on the New England Wildflower Society’s GoBotany site

Euphrasia nemorosa at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Euphrasia nemorosa on accs.uaa.alaska.edu

Euphrasia nemorosa description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 12 Jul 2017.

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Euphrasia nemorosa (Common Eyebright)

9/15/2016 · Cadillac Mountain Summit, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME

Euphrasia nemorosa (Common Eyebright)

9/15/2016 · Cadillac Mountain Summit, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME

Euphrasia nemorosa (Common Eyebright)

9/17/2016 · Mount Desert Island, Bar Harbor, ME


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