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(restharrow), a genus of plants of the family Legumino-sae. The plants are perennial or annual herbs and low shrubs. They are usually glandular-pubescent and sometimes spiny. The leaves are for the most part témate, and the pink, purple, yellow, or, less commonly, whitish flowers are in panicled, spicate, or racemose inflorescences. The fruit is an ovate, elongate, or linear pod.
There are about 75 species, distributed predominantly in Europe. Species are also found in the temperate zone of Asia and in North Africa. There are five to seven species in the USSR, growing in the European portion, the Caucasus, Southern Siberia, and Middle Asia. The most common species is O. arvensis, which grows on meadows and steppes, along the borders of plantings, and amid thickets. The plant yields a substantial amount of nectar, and yellow and green dyes are obtained from the leaves and stems. It is cultivated as a medicinal plant: its roots, which contain the glycosides ononin and ononid, the saponin onocerin, and other substances, are used in the form of an aqueous infusion as a laxative, mainly in the treatment of hemorrhoids. The species O. antiquorum, which grows in the Crimea, the Caucasus, and Middle Asia, is a good pasture plant.
REFERENCESKotukov, H. N. Kul’tiviruemye i dikorastushchie lekarstvennye rasteniia (Handbook). Kiev, 1974. (Translated from Ukrainian.)
T. V. EGOROVA