Guardian Nature School Team Contact Blog Project Noah Facebook Project Noah Twitter

A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife

Join Project Noah!
nature school apple icon

Project Noah Nature School visit nature school

Bog asphodel

Narthecium ossifragum


Bog asphodel produces bright yellow star-like flowers on leafless stems. On the damp heaths and peatbogs in which it is found, this is often the brightest show of colour around. The anthers are bright reddish-orange, and when the plants have finished flowering, the stems take on a deep saffron colour. The scientific name ossifragum means 'bone breaker' and refers to the old belief that after grazing on this plant the bones of sheep became brittle. This belief was mistaken, however, as bog asphodel was not the culprit; it was due to the calcium-deficient vegetation found in the habitats in which the plant grows. This plant has been used as a cheap substitute for saffron and as a dye.


As the common name suggests, bog asphodel is found in wet, boggy habitats including wet heaths, moors and raised, valley and blanket bogs. It is also found in wet acid habitats on mountains, up to altitudes of 1000m, and is unable to tolerate shade.


Spotted at Gerritsflesch wetland, Veluwe, Holland. In the Netherlands Narthecium ossifragum is listed as vulnerable on the 2012 national red list of vascular plants. (sources:see reference)

Species ID Suggestions

Sign in to suggest organism ID

No Comments

Spotted by

Radio Kootwijk, Gelderland, Netherlands

Spotted on Jul 19, 2020
Submitted on Sep 30, 2020

Related Spottings

Bog Asphodel Bog Asphodel Bog asphodel Basterd asphodel

Nearby Spottings

Spatulate leaved sundew Larch bolete Foxglove Cinnabar polypore
Noah Guardians
Noah Sponsors
join Project Noah Team

Join the Project Noah Team