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Euphrasia cuneata

Euphrasia cuneata

The author and photographer for today's entry is Jackie Chambers, who (if you're a long-time BPotD reader) you may remember contributing a fair number of photographs several years ago. After spending some time abroad, she's back in the Vancouver area and has a new set of photographs and stories that she'll be sharing on occasion. Jackie writes:

Europeans arriving in New Zealand used the common name eyebright to refer to this plant, as they would have seen similarities between this species and its European relative Euphrasia officinalis (botanical sketch).

Euphrasia officinalis has a long history of use by humans for the treatment of conjunctivitis and other eye complaints, dating back to at least the time of the herbalist Nicholas Culpeper. However, a 2010 assessment by the European Medicines Agency reviewed the documented medical efficacy of Euphrasia officinalis (PDF), and found there to be insufficient data to recommend therapeutic use.

In New Zealand, eyebright or tutumako, was not used for the eyes but traditionally played a role in spiritual cleansing (via the Māori Plant Use Database).

The New Zealand Plant Conservation Network has more photographs of Euphrasia cuneata.

If you are a local reader and interested in traditional knowledge and the links between people and plants, distinguished ethnobotanist Dr. Nancy Turner will be giving the Wharton Memorial Lecture at UBC on March 7th: "Reflections on the Journey from Biodiversity and Culture to Biocultural Diversity".


Jackie, thank you for the stunning photo and the interesting explanation of the plant's uses. I wish I could attend Dr. Turner's talk--it sounds like she is doing fascinating work.

Is it possible to receive a printed copy of the mentioned lecture. I
live in Florida and my husband is in the hospital. There is no way I would be able to attend the lecture. I am very interested in the
medicinal uses of plants through history. I have a Botanical Garden
and was a Botanical Illustrator. I would vw hPPY RO JPy doe rhw,
printing and mailing charges.
Thank you,
Joanne Bramsen

A beautiful photo and interesting notes. I enjoy this site very much and hope to contribute soiime photos.

Joanne, I'll confirm whether it will be available online or not. I know it's being video / audio recorded.

Lovely photo of a very interesting plant, as always.

Count me in as being very, very interested in info about the lecture. I'm eternally curious about ethnobotany.

I love this site and look forward to each new posting.


i live in florida i wish i could be helpful to joanne
and wish her husband a comfortable recovery

i enjoy reading about the early people of the america
and what my ancestors from the old world would
have seen and tried if any of the toxic plants and
medical use may have caused an early death or two

lovely picture thank you all at least our budget cuts
here in the states can not affect you daniel hopefully

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