Ploughman’s-spikenard is a striking, downy plant with foxglove like leaves and a purplish stem growing to about 1.2m high. The flower heads are arranged in a loose umbel and each head is dull yellow, lacks ray florets (petals) and is backed by rows of purple-brown bracts. Flowering occurs from July to late September and is followed by numerous dandelion like seeds.
Ploughman’s-spikenard is a rosette forming, short lived, winter-green perennial found on dry and reasonably infertile sites on chalk or limestone. It is most at home on open, stony ground but can be found in grassland, on banks, in woodland rides and within scrub but almost never under shade. It should be noted that this species is toxic to sheep and cattle and we therefore recommend you do not use it on regularly grazed sites.
Seed is best sown in the autumn.