Information on Eyebright

Common Name: Eyebright
Scientific Name: Euphrasia officinalis
Irish Name: Glanrosc
Family Group: Orobanchaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period

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

Eyebright, Irish,

There are 17 entries in the Census Catalogue of the Flora of Ireland (1987) under this genus, several being hybrids.  It is a very difficult genus to identify and therefore I am only giving a general description of these wildflowers.  They are short annuals which are semi-parasitic, obtaining their nourishment from the roots of Clovers, Plantains and grasses among whom they grow. Their 2-lipped flowers (5-10mm long) are white, often tinged pink or violet, with purple veins or a yellow blush within the corolla.  The upper lips are hooded with 2 lobes, the lower lips spread and 3-lobed.  The flowers are borne in leafy terminal spikes and the small leaves are sessile, the lower opposite, the upper often alternate.  These plants bloom from June to October in undisturbed grassy places, are native and belong to the family Orobanchaceae. 

My first record of an Eyebright was in 1973 in Cleggan, Co Galway.  The photographs were taken at Ballyheigue, Co Wexford in 2007.  

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

17th herbalist, Culpeper, recommended the use of Eyebright as an aid to memory, claiming that it strengthened the brain.  Certain varieties of Eyebright are used currently in medication for treating conditions such as conjunctivitis and catarrh.