Stachys species are from the Mint family
Square stemmed aromatic Woundworts
These plants can be aromatic and have square stems, similar to Salvias.
Hedge woundwort – Stachys sylvatica
Hedge woundwort is also known as Hedge nettle and grows in my garden as a weed. I introduced it myself accidentally from a nursery selling it as a border-worthy plant, although I now disagree! I’ve found that it self seeds prolifically and also propagates by runners so is a little too vigorous for my taste. When I pull it up there is an unpleasant medicinal scent.
It is a substantial perennial plant with flower spikes growing to about 80cm high throughout the summer. I think the fleshy hairy leaves look a bit like nettle but there is no sting – they are up to about 10cm long and cordate (heart shaped) with serrated edges.
The picture below shows it growing in my garden alongside Geranium pyrenaicum, Rosa mundi, Campanula and white Campion.
Hedge woundwort flowers
The dark pink flowers are held in whorls and the whole thing is hairy and the calyces are purple. The individual flowers are up to 1cm long and the flowering part of the stem is up to about 12cm.
Stachys sylvatica stolons
I referred above to this plant spreading via runners. In actual fact they are stolons which are modified stems which travel near the surface of the soil, rooting along the way. You can see from the picture of one I weeded out that the underground stems are pink and have rooted before sending out new shoots (botttom of pic).
I also spotted this plant in the wild on a walk in woodland from Whitstable to Canterbury where it was growing on the edge of woodland.
Betony – Common Hedgenettle – Stachys officinalis
Betony is now known as Betonica officinalis and I’ve moved it to its own page.
Marsh Woundwort – Stachys palustris
I saw this for the first time in Lechlade by the river Thames. It was in full flower in July and was growing on the riverbank. The flowers had white markings similar to Stachys sylvatica but the leaves were narrower and the whole plant was smaller. The stems and leaves were less hairy.
Marsh Woundwort flowers
The flowers of this plant were lavender colour and the flower spike was shorter and denser (less stem between flowers) than Stachys sylvatica. The individual flowers are up to 1cm long and the flowering part of the stem is up to about 8cm.
Marsh Woundwort leaves
The leaves are lanceolate (lance shaped) and about 8cm long. The leaves on the flowering stems are stalkless.
Marsh Woundwort plant
The whole plant was about 50cm high.