Selfheal

Here is another member of the Lamiaceae family: Prunella vulgaris, commonly known as selfheal or all-heal. Like the other Lamiaceae that we have looked at, red dead nettle and ground ivy, it has the characteristic two lipped zygomorphic flower and a square stem.

The genus name Prunella is a corruption, or perhaps misspelling, of Brunella which is derived from the German word for quinsey (Bräune) a bacterial throat infection for which self heal was believed to be a cure. The species name, vulgaris, means common which is exactly what it is; it grows in our lawns, allotments, playing fields, hayfields and parks.

It is very adaptable. In tall grass it is an upright plant and the flower heads grow on long stems; in short grass, mown or grazed, it spreads sideways forming clumps and patches with reduced flower heads on stems no more than a four or five centimetres long.

It will be somewhere in your lawn; choose a clump and let it grow tall flower stems for the bees and other nectar feeders to visit.


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