Red Bartsia - Odontites vernus, click for a larger image
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Red Bartsia - Odontites vernus, click for a larger image

Red Bartsia - Odontites vernaverna
Family - Lamiales
Alternative Latin names - Bartisia odonites, O. rubra gilib
Also known as - Eyebright, Perlina di Primavera, Red Rattle

A native European annual plant of the Figwort family, growing to between 15 and 50cm (6 to 19in) tall.  Narrow purplish–green toothed or regularly serrulate lanceolate leaves in opposite pairs on dense bristly hairy single stems with small solitary tubular flowers 8–12mm (0.3–0.5in) in the upper leaf axils, dull rose colouration, resembling tiny snapdragons, are found in the upper leaf axils.  Stems upright, unbranched sometimes with a few branches in the upper part.

Flowers in a multi–blossomed raceme, the flower stamens protrude beyond the lower petal of the flowers.  Flowers from May to September, found in fields, footpath edges pasture and grassland, common through most of Europe.  Listed by some as a restricted weed, In Germany its common name is Zahntrost (English = "toothwort").  It is a semi–parasite, mainly on grasses.  Regarded as a weed in parts of Canada following introduction in the 1950s.

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