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Stachys officinalis Betonica officinalis

Previously known as:

  • Stachys betonica
  • Stachys officinalis
Description

Purple betony is an herbaceous perennial in the Lamiaceae (mint) family.  It's an old and respected medicinal plant that was in use in ancient Egypt.  Its native habitat includes meadows, gardens, parks,  pastures, hedge banks and open forest woodlands.

It has large, heart shaped leaves on long stems that arise from the root.  These are the majority of the leaves.  Smaller leaves grow from the slender, squared stems.  These alternate leaves are stalkless and appear in pairs at wide intervals along the stem.  Both types of foliage have a rough texture, a fringe of short hairs.  The surface has glands that emit a bitter oil that is quite aromatic.  

The flowers are two lipped and arranged in a whorl.  Above the whorl is bare stem, followed by the stalkless leaves described above, then additional flowers.  This pattern repeats, resulting in a spike of alternating flowers and leaves.  

The flowers are 2-lipped and have 3 lobes, with the central lobe the largest.  There are also 2 short stamens and 2 long stamens.  

The cultivar 'Hummelo' has tiny, rose-lavendar, two-lipped flowers.  They form as spikes at the top of leafless stems.  They sit well above the foliage.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious issues, however, snails and slugs may damage the plant.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Hummelo'
    Two-lipped rose/lavender flowers.
'Hummelo'
Tags:
#showy flowers#drought tolerant#perennials#deer resistant#herbaceous perennials#frost tolerant#teas#groundcover#long lifespan#naturalizes#naturalized area#clay soils tolerant#herb
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Hummelo'
    Two-lipped rose/lavender flowers.
'Hummelo'
Tags:
#showy flowers#drought tolerant#perennials#deer resistant#herbaceous perennials#frost tolerant#teas#groundcover#long lifespan#naturalizes#naturalized area#clay soils tolerant#herb
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Betonica
    Species:
    officinalis
    Family:
    Lamiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe, northwestern Africa, Caucasus, and Siberia
    Wildlife Value:
    Wildlife are attracted to this plant. It is pollinated by bees.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Buffer
    Colorful
    Easy to Grow
    Edibility:
    Its leaves and flowering tops are used in making tea.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 6 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Columnar
    Erect
    Mounding
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Schizocarp
    Fruit Description:
    The shiny fruits have slight bristles. It grows as a schizocarp, a dry fruit that splits into single seeded parts when it ripens.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The flowers are two lipped and appear in whorls along the stem.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Long stemmed Basel leaves grow on the lower portion of the plant. Stemless upper leaves
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Square
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The erect stems are soft and hairy.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Pond
    Pool/Hardscape
    Slope/Bank
    Small Space
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought