Prunella vulgaris

Doug took today’s photo of Prunella vulgaris in Tonganoxie, Kansas. As always, we extend our thanks to him for such a serene, dream-like image. (Original)

Prunella vulgaris is a member of Lamiaceae (mint family), which consists of between 233 and 263 genera and between 6900 and 7200 herb, tree, vine, and shrubby species. These species are generally aromatic, and the family includes several of the most common culinary herbs (thyme, sage, marjoram, oregano, basil, lavender). Plants don opposite leaves either decussate (each pair at right angles to the pair below) or whorled (more than two leaves arising at each node), and they put forth bilaterally symmetrical flowers equipped with 5 united petals and 5 united sepals.

Prunella is a small genus of 7 square-stemmed herbaceous species whose reputations as panaceas inspired the common collective designators heal-all and self-heal. Most species are native to Asia, Europe, and north Africa, though today’s plant occurs (often as a quick-spreading lawn weed) in North America as well.

Prunella vulgaris grows a creeping, tenacious stem that reaches about 70 centimetres in height and bears opposite pairs of lanceolate leaves. Around midsummer, plants put forth two-lipped, hooded flowers of purple and white from in between their pointed green bracts. Specimens thrive when sited in moist soils and exposed to full sun. They are easily propagated by seed cuttings or, better, whole reclining stems (which often have roots conveniently attached&#41, or by seed, which should be sown in early spring.

Prunella vulgaris

8 responses to “Prunella vulgaris”

  1. CherriesWalks

    Wow, 70cm! In the Alpes they only grow about 10cm high.

  2. Quin

    this can be an excellent member of a mix of specimens for ‘mowable meadows’ that are more diverse, more drought tolerant, more garden-critter-friendly, and perhaps better looking than typical turf culture (also barefoot-child-friendly!)

  3. Bruce A. Sorrie

    This image looks like the Eurasian plant P. vulgaris var. vulgaris, with its taller inflorescence and paler flowers than North American native plants.

  4. katemarie

    i harvest this as i walk from the pond or the treehouse, let it dry and add it to the daily tea/juice/ointments……it seems especially happy this year, very abundant! our beautiful earth stating the availability of a balm for our needs…
    Properties(from altnature.com)
    Heal-All is edible and medicinal, can be used in salads, soups, stews, or boiled as a pot herb. Used as an alternative medicine for centuries on just about every continent in the world, and for just about every ailment known to man, Heal-All is something of a panacea, it does seem to have some medicinal uses that are constant. The plants most useful constituents are Betulinic-acid, D-Camphor, Delphinidin, Hyperoside, Manganese, Oleanolic-acid, Rosmarinic-acid, Rutin, Ursolic-acid, and Tannins. The whole plant is medicinal as alterative, antibacterial, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, hypotensive, stomachic, styptic, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary. A cold water infusion of the freshly chopped or dried and powdered leaves is a very tasty and refreshing beverage, weak infusion of the plant is an excellent medicinal eye wash for sties and pinkeye. It is taken internally as a medicinal tea in the treatment of fevers, diarrhoea, sore mouth and throat, internal bleeding, and weaknesses of the liver and heart. Clinical analysis shows it to have an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of pseudomonas, Bacillus typhi, E. coli, Mycobacterium tuberculi, which supports its use as an alternative medicine internally and externally as an antibiotic and for hard to heal wounds and diseases. It is showing promise in research for cancer, AIDS, diabetes, and many other maladies.

  5. aminu abubakar chiranchi

    what an elegant spp, no wonder it produce this pleasant aroma.

  6. Tessa

    I have always loved the name of this little plant. Thank you Kate Marie for the herbal info. Fascinating. What a treasure it is!
    Tessa

  7. elizabeth a airhart

    this lovely plant can be found on you tube
    the missouri garden page has many images
    of this plant and many others lovely page
    thank you mr justice -kansas? but then
    we are a differnt country are we not
    even need a passport now

  8. Doug

    Ms. Airhart, this time, ‘t’isn’t Mr. Justice, but another Doug… (The “as always” may refer to the three other pictures of mine that have been featured on BPOTD…)
    Kansas is certainly a strange and beautiful place (as long as you focus on all of the wonderful bits of nature on the smaller level)…
    For what little it is worth, here are ALL of the pix I took while visiting my parents’ little farm (which we call the farmette):
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/shyzaboy/sets/72157621698017321/

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