Toxic parts

A toxic principle is present in very small quantities in the plant[1][2][3][4][5]. It is poorly absorbed so poisoning is unlikely[5].

Edible uses

There are no edible uses listed for Adonis vernalis.

Material uses

There are no material uses listed for Adonis vernalis.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Pheasant's eye has a long history of medicinal use and is still retained in the Pharmacopoeias of several European countries[6]. The plant contains cardiac glycosides similar to those found in the foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)[7]. These substances improve the heart's efficiency, increasing its output at the same time as slowing its rate[7]. It also has a sedative action and so is generally prescribed for patients whose hearts are beating too fast or irregularly[7]. The herb is not often prescribed, however, due to irregular absorption[6]. The herb is cardiotonic, diuretic, sedative and vasoconstrictor[8][1][2][3][9][10]. It has sometimes been used internally as a cardiotonic with success where the better known foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) has failed - especially where there is also kidney disease[8]. The herb is also used in the treatment of low blood pressure and its strong diuretic action can be used to counter water retention[7]. It is included in many proprietary medicines, especially since its effects are not cumulative[10]. The plants are harvested every third year as they come into flower[1], they are dried for use in tinctures and liquid extracts[10]. The herb does not store well so stocks should be replaced every year[10]. Use with great caution[2], see the notes above on toxicity. The plant is used in homeopathy as a treatment for angina[7].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe or else it can be slow and erratic to germinate[11][10]. Sow the seed in partial shade in rich soil in September or March[12]. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the cold frame for their first season. Plant out when dormant in the autumn[K]. Division in early spring or in autumn. The divisions can be difficult to establish[11], so it is probably best to pot them up and keep them in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing away well.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Adonis vernalis. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Grows well in any ordinary garden soil that is not too heavy[13]. Prefers a moist well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade[8][11]. Easily grown in a very well-drained rather dry soil in sun or part shade[14]. Plants flower better when growing in a sunny position[6]. This plant is adored by slugs and is therefore very difficult to grow in the open garden where slugs are common[14]. A very ornamental plant[13], it is rather rare in the wild so only cultivated plants should be harvested[1]. A greedy plant inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes[15].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Adonis vernalis. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Adonis vernalis.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Adonis vernalis
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
    2. ? Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
    3. ? Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-33545-3 (1975-00-00)
    4. ? Stary. F. Poisonous Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-35666-3 (1983-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.1 Frohne. D. and Pf?nder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. Wolfe ISBN 0723408394 (1984-00-00)
    6. ? Stuart. M. (Editor) The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism Orbis Publishing. London. ISBN 0-85613-067-2 (1979-00-00)
    7. ? Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
    8. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    10. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    11. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    12. ? Sanders. T. W. Popular Hardy Perennials. Collingridge (1926-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.1 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.1 Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Perennials Volumes 1 and 2. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30936-9 (1991-00-00)
    15. ? Hatfield. A. W. How to Enjoy your Weeds. Frederick Muller Ltd ISBN 0-584-10141-4 (1977-00-00)