Common Restharrow - Ononis repens

Alternative names

Short to medium, erect or spreading sub shrub, stems often rooting near the base. It sometimes has soft weak spines but never stiff spines. Flowers pink 15 to 20 mm in lax, leafy racemes.

Similar Species

Ononis spinosa

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

The stems are hairy all round. Leaflets <3 times as long as wide, usually obtuse (blunt).  It can be spiny.

Recording advice

General photo of plant in its habitat, plus details of stem


Dry grassy habitats on calcareous soils including meadows, banks and roadside verges.

When to see it

June to September.

Life History


UK Status

Widespread in most of Britain but sometimes local in distribution due to its preferred soil type. It seems to be scarce in the north of Scotland.

VC55 Status

Mainly found in the north east of Leicestershire and parts of Rutland, just a few records from railway verges elsewhere in VC55. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 26 of the 617 tetrads.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map