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[An Archaeologist’s Guide to British Species] #52: Bogbean

May 24, 2022

In 2022, I am continuing to blog an A-Z compendium of human interactions with species in the British landscape. A list of references for information used in this series can be found here.

Pink and white star shaped bogbean flowers
Bogbean flowers. Image by Arnstein Rønning – Own work (CC BY-3.0)


Menyanthes trifoliata L.

Also known as buckbean, marsh trefoil, water trefoil and marsh clover

A plant of wet bogs and ponds, with clover-like leaves and spikes of pink and white star-shaped flowers fringed with long hairs in early summer. 

The rhizomes are edible, and the leaves have been used in place of hops to give a bitter flavour to beer. Where it is abundant, it has been highly prized in herbal medicine. An infusion of its leaves has been recommended by herbalists as a cure for fever, and it has also been used to treat asthma, sores and stomach complaints. It has also been used as a herb tobacco.

Menyanthes on the Digital Plant Atlas

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