Saw-wort ©Wendy Carter


Scientific name: Serratula tinctoria
Saw-wort gets its common name from the serrated, saw-like edges to its leaves. It is a plant of unimproved hay meadows and woodland edges, its purple, thistle-like flowers appearing over summer.

Species information


Height: up to 1m

Conservation status


When to see

July to September


Saw-wort is a member of the daisy family that looks like a thistle without the spines. It gets its common name from serrated edges of its leaves. Its purple flower heads appear from July to September and can be seen on unimproved hay meadows and along woodland edges, particularly on chalky soils.

How to identify

Saw-wort has purple flower heads that look like those of a small thistle and sit in branched clusters; however, it lacks the spines of a thistle. It has finely saw-toothed leaves.


Found in England and Wales, particularly in the South West.

Did you know?

Historically, the leaves of Saw-wort were used for creating a yellow dye.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts look after many meadow habitats using traditional methods, such as hay-cutting, reseeding and grazing, for the benefit of local wildlife. We are also working closely with farmers and landowners to promote wildlife-friendly practices in these areas. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from stockwatching to surveying meadow flowers.