Saw-wort is a medium to tall, thistle-like plant with wiry grooved stems and no spines. The long, loosely branched flower heads are purple and pink. The divided leaves are spear-shaped and bristle-toothed.
This is a plant of lime-rich, rough grassland, open woodland and damp places. It is available from a number of wildflower specialist nurseries and would make a good addition to a wet meadow. Long-tongued bees may reach the nectar offered by this species.
The toothed leaves suggested to early herbalists a divine message that the plant was useful for healing wounds. The second part of the Latin name is a clue to the fact that it was commonly employed in dyeing.