Pasque flower – characteristics, cultivation and use

pasque flower with purple flowers
pasque flower with purple flowers

Pasque flower is a pretty spring plant with striking bell-shaped flowers. However, the protected plant does not just look good, it is also a fascinating medicinal plant, which is used today mainly in homeopathy against a variety of different ailments. In addition, the perennial plant is indeed among the medicinal herbs, but it is classified as completely toxic (however, it looses it toxicity when dry). Pasque flower are under protection and should not be picked in any case.

Profile of pasque flower:

Scientific name: Pulsatilla vulgaris

Plant family: buttercup family, crowfoot family (Ranunculaceae)

Other names: pasqueflower, pasque flower flower, European pasqueflower, Dane’s blood

Sowing time / Planting time: October – November

Flowering period: March – May

Harvest time: poisonous plant

Useful plant parts: leaves, flowers (only used dried)

Location: sunny and sheltered from the wind

Soil quality: dry, calcareous and nutrient-poor soils

These information are for temperate climate!

Use as a medicinal herb: nervous restlessness, anxiety disorders, colds, bronchitis, gout, rheumatism, migraine, cataract, glaucoma

Use as aromatic herb: none, as poisonous!

Attention! Toxic.

Use only a low dose of the pasque flower or homeopathic or as dried herb.

Plant characteristics and classification of pasque flower

Origin and occurrence of the pasque flower

The pasque flower is a plant native to Central and Western Europe that prefers locations with calcareous soils and rather warm temperatures. It is found mainly in Germany and France, and occasionally in the pine forests of Denmark, southern Sweden, Switzerland and eastern Austria.

Due to the intensive agriculture and settlement economy, the plant has lost a large part of its natural habitat. It is now on the red list of endangered plants and is therefore a strictly protected species. Occasionally it is found today, in low mountain regions, such as in the Harz Mountains.

Plant order of the pasque flower

The pasque flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) belongs to the species-rich family of buttercup plants (Ranunculaceae), which also includes other famous medicinal plants such as the buttercup, the columbine or the turmeric.

The genus Pulsatilla is relatively rich with more than 30 species. Well-known representatives are the greater pasque flower (Pulsatilla grandis), the small pasque flower (Pulsatilla pratensis) and the Alpine pasque flower (Pulsatilla alpina).

Characteristics of the pasque flower


The pasque flower is a perennial herbaceous plant that can reach heights of growth between 20 and 40 cm (8 and 16 in). A peculiarity is the vertically in the ground sitting, usually dark brown to black rhizome. The plant is poisonous!


The leaves are arranged in a leaf rosette. These are between 5 and 10 cm (2 and 4 in) long and usually just as wide. The leaves are slightly pinnate and attract attention through tapered leaf ends. Most of them are reminiscent of the leaf shape of the wild carrot or dill.


From March to April, sometimes even in May, single, bell-shaped flowers stand at the ends of long, straight stems. They reach a diameter between 6 and 8 centimeters (2.4 to 3.2 in). In the middle, conspicuous yellow stamens stretch into the air. The flower color is usually purple, but some varieties also have white, pink or red flowers. Beneath the flowers sit fine bracts that are silvery-hairy.


After flowering, the stems of the pasque flower grow to about twice their length. At the top, decorative, bushy seeds emerge.

Pasque flower – sowing and care


Pasque flower loves sun and needs a full sun in the garden.


Pasque flower prefers calcareous, well-drained and nutrient-poor soils. Ideal are sandy garden soils with sufficient lime content (pH of the soil should be at least 6.5 to 7). If only loamy and dense soils are available, these should be mixed with quartz sand or other soil additives such as pumice or zeolite. Commercial potting soil based on peat should be omitted, as it is too nutritious for the plant and does not contain enough lime.


The sowing of pasque flower should take place in late autumn. The plant needs temperatures between 1 and 5 ° C (33 and 41 ° F) for germination. In the field, attention should be paid to a planting distance of at least 25 x 25 cm (10 x 10 in). A planting in rock gardens is quite possible. Sowing on warm southern balcony is possible. However, deep planters should be chosen because the plant roots quite deeply over time.


Special attention should be paid to water supply and fertilization. The pasque flower requires very little water and nutrients within a growing season. In most cases, active fertilization is not required.


When fertilizing, at most a few supplements of compost should be mixed after flowering. In general, excessively high levels of nutrients can cause the plant to die.


Old leaves, flower stems and flowers should always be removed in a timely manner. If the old flower parts are removed after flowering, there is the possibility of a second flowering phase.

Pasque flower and its use

Pasque flower in the fresh, undried state is very toxic. Upon drying, however, this substance is converted into a slightly toxic form, the anemonine.

Pasque flower in the kitchen

The pasque flower is not used in the kitchen because of its toxicity.

Pasque flower as a medicinal herb

The pasque flower is an ancient and well-known medicinal plant, which was already known in antiquity and the Middle Ages. In old herbal books it was used for both external and internal diseases. However, there were also herbalists who were aware of the toxicity of the plant and therefore recommended caution before using it. Hippocrates recommended the herb for anxiety and menstrual disorders.

Pasque flower use of dried plant

Since pasque flower is not only poisonous, but also strongly irritating to the skin, it is often used neither in phytotherapy nor in folk medicine.

By drying the plant parts, however, it loses the toxicity, as is the case with many buttercup plants.

The dried plant can be used in low doses against menstrual cramps and bladder infections. You can also use a tincture from the dried plant.

Homeopathic application of pasque flower

In homeopathy, pasque flower is very popular. Homeopathically from D4, the herb is called “Pulsatilla” to help against many ailments, mainly for women. The application range from migraine together with stomach ache, irregular period, up to disturbances of the urinary organs and colds.

In keeping with its skin-irritating effect in the undiluted state, the homeopathic pasque flower is used against eczema and hives.

In acute problems, potencies of D4 to D12 are recommended, in chronic rather D30.

Pasque Flower can be used for these ailments and diseases

  • bladder weakness
  • colds
  • depressions
  • eczema
  • indigestion
  • irregular period
  • stomach pain
  • gallen weakness
  • gout
  • headache
  • hives
  • kidney weakness
  • liver weakness
  • menstrual cramps
  • migraine
  • rheumatism

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), pasque flower is considered a herb with a cold temperature. Application areas are mainly the digestive organs colon and stomach. Only the root, which is usually called Boi Tou Weng, is used here.

Note in pregnancy

Pregnant women should not use pasque flower during pregnancy and lactation.


Ask your doctor or pharmacist. Visiting this page can not replace the visit to the doctor. For serious or unclear complaints, consult your doctor.

Buy pasque flower – What to pay attention to?

The pasque flower is relatively rare available in plant shops or garden center. Fresh plants can be purchased in the online trade. The prices are about 3 EUR/$ per plant. There are sometimes different varieties that produce flower colors from white, pink to purple.

Pasque flower can also be conveniently brought to seed in the home garden. However, most seed producers do not offer a corresponding product. Again, you can make a find online, where quite a few dealers offer some different varieties. The price for the seed is about 1.50 to 3 EUR for 30 to 40 seeds but still reasonable.

For homeopathic applications globules and tinctures are available in different potencies. It seems to have a positive effect especially on nasal irritation, sinusitis, throat infections, menstrual difficulties, migraine and nervous restlessness. Who does not know which potency must be taken, should first consult with a pharmacist, a specialist in naturopathy or healer.

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