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Ononis spinosa

Ononis spinosa

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordo: Fabales

Familia: Fabaceae
Subfamilia: Faboideae
Tribus: Trifolieae
Genus: Ononis
Species: Ononis spinosa
Subspecies: O. s. subsp. antiquorum – O. s. subsp. australis – O. s. subsp. austriaca – O. s. subsp. diacantha – O. s. subsp. leiosperma – O. s. subsp. maritima – O. s. subsp. masquillierii – O. s. subsp. spinosa

Ononis spinosa L., Sp. Pl. 2: 716 (1753), nom. cons.

Anonis spinosa (L.) Scop.
Bonaga spinosa (L.) Medik.
Ononis arvensis subsp. spinosa (L.) Ehrh., Hannover Mag. 15: 228 (1780).


Ononis spinosa Hasselq. = Alhagi maurorum subsp. maurorum

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Europe
Regional: Northern Europe
Denmark, Finland (introduced), Great Britain, Ireland, Norway, Sweden.
Regional: Middle Europe
Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland.
Regional: Southwestern Europe
Baleares, Corse, France, Portugal, Sardegna, Spain.
Regional: Southeastern Europe
Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Kriti, Romania, Turkey-in-Europe, Yugoslavia.
Regional: Eastern Europe
Belarus, Baltic States, Krym, Central European Russia, East European Russia, South European Russia, Northwest European Russia, Ukraine.
Continental: Africa
Regional: Northern Africa
Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia.
Regional: Macaronesia
Madeira (introduced).
Continental: Asia-Temperate
Regional: Middle Asia
Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Turkmenistan, Tadzhikistan, Uzbekistan.
Regional: Caucasus
North Caucasus, Transcaucasus.
Regional: Western Asia
Cyprus, East Aegean Islands, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon-Syria, Palestine, Turkey.
Regional: China
Continental: Asia-Tropical
Regional: Indian Subcontinent
Pakistan, West Himalaya.
Continental: Australasia
Regional: Australia
Tasmania, Victoria. (introduced).
Regional: New Zealand
New Zealand North, New Zealand South (introduced).
Continental: Northern America
Regional: North-Central U.S.A.
Illinois (introduced).
Regional: Northeastern U.S.A.
New York (introduced).

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus II: 716. Reference page.

Additional references

Lepschi, B. & Monro, A. (Project Coordinators) 2014. Australian Plant Census (APC). Council of Heads of Australian Herbaria. online
Luzhanin, V.G., Geltman, D.V., Rodionov, A.V. & Yakovlev, G.P. 2013. The genus Ononis (Fabaceae) in the flora of Russia and adjacent countries [in Russian]. Botanicheskii Zhurnal. Moscow & Leningrad 98(11): 1403–1415. PDF. Reference page.
Greuter, W., Burdet, H.M. & Long, G. (eds.) 1989. Med-Checklist. A critical inventory of vascular plants of the circum-mediterranean countries. Vol. 4: Dicotyledones (Lauraceae – Rhamnaceae). cxxix + 458 pp., Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques, Genève, ISBN 2-8277-0154-5. Online version. Reference page.
Turini, F., Bräuchler, C. & Heubl, G. 2010. Phylogenetic relationships and evolution of morphological characters in Ononis L. (Fabaceae). Taxon 59(4): 1077–1090. DOI: 10.1002/tax.594008 JSTOR Reference page.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2021. Ononis spinosa in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 Jun 14. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2021. Ononis spinosa. Published online. Accessed: Jun 14 2021. 2021. Ononis spinosa. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 Jun 14.
Hassler, M. 2021. Ononis spinosa. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2021. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 Jun 14. Reference page.
Hassler, M. 2021. World Plants. Synonymic Checklist and Distribution of the World Flora. . Ononis spinosa. Accessed: 14 Jun 2021.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Ononis spinosa in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 1 Dec 2017.

Vernacular names
العربية: شبرق شائك
azərbaycanca: Tikanlı paxlakolu
català: Gavó espinós
čeština: jehlice trnitá
Cymraeg: Tagaradr pigog
Deutsch: Dornige Hauhechel

Ελληνικά, Κυπριακά: Αλινιά

español: asnillo, balomaga, detiene bueyes, espinilla, gatilla, gatuna, gatuña, hierba toro, peine de asno, quiebra arados, abreojo, abreojos, abrojo, abrojos, anonis, balomaca, balomada, brumaga, camerio, carretón de la vega, cornicrabas, detiene buei, detienebuey, detiene buey, esbolomaga, garduña, gartuña, gata, gateña, gatiña, gatillas, gatillos, gatina, gatita, gatuñas, goldarrán, goldarrón, grumagas, grumuaca, gurumaca, hierba de la estranguria, hijasdeputa, miarcas, mielca de gitano, molomaga, mormaga, parabuey, para-buey, peina de asno, pie de asno, quiebraarado, quiebraarados, quiebra-arados, quiebraardos, quiebrarados, rémora, rumaga, tentabuey, uña de gato, uña de gatos, uñaengato, uñagata, uña gata, uña gato, uñalgata, uñas de gato, uñas gatas, yerba de la estranguria, yerba que impide el arado, yerba toro
euskara: Itxiokorri
suomi: Ruusuorakko
français: Bugrane épineuse, Arrête-bœuf, Bugrane epineuse, Arrête-boeuf
hrvatski: Zečji trn
hornjoserbsce: Kawaty tryčk
magyar: Tövises iglice
italiano: Ononide
Limburgs: Kattedoorn
lietuvių: Dygliuotasis dirvenis
македонски: Грмотрн, зајачки трн
Nederlands: Kattendoorn, Kattedoorn
polski: Wilżyna ciernista
română: Osul iepurelui
русский: Стальник колючий
slovenčina: ihlica tŕnitá
slovenščina: Navadni gladež
српски / srpski: Зечји трн, Вучији трн
svenska: Busktörne, Smalbladigt puktörne, Puktörne, Stallört
Türkçe: Kayışkıran
中文: 红芒柄花

Ononis spinosa is a plant belonging to the family Fabaceae, that is commonly known as spiny restharrow or just restharrow. It is found throughout much of Europe including Britain, but seldom as far north as Scotland.


Spiny restharrow is an erect, bushy perennial. The wiry, branched stem is downy and nearly always spiny, and grows to a height of 18 in (46 cm). The leaves are small, dark green, oval or trefoil, with toothed leaf-like stipules at their base. The flowers are deep pink and white, with the wings shorter than the hooked keel, and the calyx usually shorter than the pod.[1]
Distribution and habitat

Spiny restharrow is found in southern temperate areas of Europe and Siberia. In the British Isles it occurs predominantly in central and southeastern England. Its typical habitat is lime-rich but nutrient-poor grassland on chalk and heavy, calcareous soils.[2] It grows in the Plaster's Green Meadows, an SSSI in Lincolnshire.[3]
Historical use

In medieval Russia, it was used for manufacturing Bulat steel. Though the original process is now lost, it is known it involved dipping the finished weapon into a vat containing a special liquid of which spiny restharrow extract was a part (the plant's name in Russian, stalnik, reflects its historical role), then holding the sword aloft while galloping on a horse, allowing it to dry and harden against the wind.[4]

In traditional Russian herbal medicine, it was used as an anodyne, antiphlogistic, aperient, coagulant and diuretic.[4] A decoction of restharrow was used for eczema and other skin problems, hemorrhoids, chronic constipation, and infections of the anus.[4]

McClintock, David; Fitter, R.S.R. (1961). The Pocket Guide to Wild Flowers. London: Collins. p. 58.
"Ononis spinosa". Online Atlas of the British and Irish Flora. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
"Plaster's Green Meadows citation" (PDF). Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
Zevin, Igor Vilevich. A Russian Herbal. 1997. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press. p.122.

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