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Wild liquorice

Scientific name: Astragalus glycyphyllos
A sprawling plant, Wild liquorice often has large, kinked stems. It favours woodland, scrub and grassland habitats on chalky soils - look for pea-like flowers and pods. This liquorice is not edible, though!

Species information


Height: up to 1.5m

Conservation status


When to see

June to August


Wild liquorice is a member of the pea family, often found in woodlands, scrub and grasslands on chalky soils.
It is a sprawling perennial that can grow quite tall. It displays clusters of tubular, creamy flowers from June to August, and produces familiar-looking peapods later on.

How to identify

Wild liquorice is a straggly plant, with oval leaflets (up to 15). Its flowers are creamy-white or slightly green, and take the typical five-petalled pea -or vetch-type form; they gather in dense clusters. Long, inflated peapods follow the flowers.


Widespread, but not common.

Did you know?

The liquorice that we eat as a sweet comes from the root of a different plant, so don't try to pick or dig up Wild liquorice!

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many grassland and woodland habitats sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. Careful grazing with traditional breeds, hay-cutting at the right time, scrub clearance and coppicing are just some of the ways grasslands and woodlands are kept in good condition. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too, and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.