Spring pheasant's eye

Spring pheasant's eye

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Adonis vernalis is a perennial plant of the family Ranunculaceae.

In Bulgarian this plant is given many folk names: Gorotsvet, gurlyov dyado,zhult bozhur (yellow peony), zhulta sviralka (yellow ragged robin), zhulta kotka, zhaltotsvet, kuchi bozhur, ovche oko, kukoviche oko, otrovniche, zaichi mak, sleti kosi, opadikos.

Home of the spring pheasant’s-eye are the temperate zones of Europe and Asia. In Bulgaria it is found in more sunny and dry places, rocky grassland or forest shade to 1000m altitude.

Adonis vernalis has a short but thick, black-brownish rhizome. Every year, from the buds spread over the roots grow several stems forming a clump. The core is surrounded by brown, membranous scales. The stem is erected strait; during flowering it can reach a height between 5 to 20 cm, but after the overblown rose continues to grow up to 40 cm It is covered with cloth and has shallow grooves. At the top of the stem they start to diverge. Its leaves are without stipule, spread in consecutive order. They are sessile, pointed and pedate. Flowers are single, but large, 4-5 cm in diameter, coloured in bright yellow. They are located at the tips of the stems and branches. Petals are 10 to 24 in number, glossy, oblong elliptical, 2-2,5 cm long and 0.5 to 1.2 cm wide; sepals are 5 to 8 in number, greenish, ovate or elliptical, at the top blunt, reaching a length of 2 cm and width 1.2 cm. The large number of stamens is ordered in spiral, they are bare and bright yellow. The fruit of spring pheasant's-eye is assembled in one, it composes of 30-40 oval nuts. It blooms during the spring months from April to May.

Spring pheasant's-eye is a valuable medicinal herb. Its ground part contains over 15 cardiac glycosides: tsimarin, adonitoksin, flavine adonivernit glycoside, and adonidozid adonivernozid, saponins, fitosterin, adonit, resin, choline and more. They are responsible for Adonis vernalis‘s qualities as heart stimulant and diuretic. Since the entire plant is highly poisonous, it should be used only with a prescription.

dr. Svetla Dalakchieva