Information on Common Figwort

Common Name: Common Figwort
Scientific Name: Scrophularia nodosa
Irish Name: Donnlus
Family Group: Scrophulariaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Common Figwort could sometimes be confused with:

Figwort, Water,

Frequently found in ditches, hedgerows and roadsides throughout the country, this perennial stands tall, sometimes over 1 metre high. It has upright square stems (not winged) on which are borne loose panicles of 2-lipped flowers (1cm long) the larger, upper lip being maroon colour, the small lower lip being greenish red. Two of the four stamens protrude between the lips, the sepals being entirely green with membranous margins. The leaves are broadly oval, pointed and toothed, the lower being stalked, the upper unstalked. Common Figwort emits a somewhat unpleasant smell which attracts moths and other insects. It blooms from June to September, is a native plant and it belongs to the family Scrophulariaceae.

My first record of this plant is in Rath, Co Kerry in 1979 and I photographed it in Gibletstown, Co Wexford in 2005.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Figwort, Common
Figwort, Common

In herbal medicine, Figwort is used to help those with skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis. In earlier times, practitioners recommended it as treatment for Scrofula a form of tuberculosis which causes enlargement of the neck glands - hence its generic name, Scrophularia.