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Woundwort Betonica officinalis

Other plants called Woundwort:

Previously known as:

  • Stachys betonica
  • Stachys officinalis
Description

Purple betony is an herbaceous perennial wildflower in the Lamiaceae (mint) family.  Its native habitat includes meadows, gardens, parks,  pastures, hedge banks, and open forest woodlands.  Grows in matted clumps it slowly reaches 1 to 2 feet in height  and width.

Plant in full sun to parital shade in well drained moist neutral to acidc soils.  Once established, this plant is resistant to drought.  Propagate this plant by seeding in the late summer, fall or early spring and it also self-seeds readily.

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 showy purple red flowers are 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 lipped flowers are a magnet for bees and other pollinators.

Mass plant them or use them in the front of a border or let the naturalize in a meadow setting.  They are often used as an edging plant but they grow well in containers or near hardscapes like patios, walkways or poolside plantings.  Its diminutive size make it ideal for small spaces, cottage gardens or rock gardens.

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#purple flowers#nectar plant#cottage garden#mass planting#edging#deer resistant#herbaceous perennials#frost tolerant#teas#groundcover#long lifespan#naturalizes#rock garden#poolside planting#self-seeding#pollinator plant#naturalized area#flowers mid-summer#border front#flowers early summer#flowers late summer#walkway planting#small group plantings#patio planting#clay soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#nectar plant early summer#nectar plant mid-summer#nectar plant late summer#nectar plant early fall#flowers early fall#bee friendly#meadows#container plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Hummelo'
    Two-lipped rose/lavender flowers.
'Hummelo'
Tags:
#showy flowers#drought tolerant#perennials#purple flowers#nectar plant#cottage garden#mass planting#edging#deer resistant#herbaceous perennials#frost tolerant#teas#groundcover#long lifespan#naturalizes#rock garden#poolside planting#self-seeding#pollinator plant#naturalized area#flowers mid-summer#border front#flowers early summer#flowers late summer#walkway planting#small group plantings#patio planting#clay soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#nectar plant early summer#nectar plant mid-summer#nectar plant late summer#nectar plant early fall#flowers early fall#bee friendly#meadows#container plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Betonica
    Species:
    officinalis
    Family:
    Lamiaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    A medicinal plant that was in use in ancient Egypt.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe, northwestern Africa, Caucasus, and Siberia
    Wildlife Value:
    The nectar and pollen rich flowers are visited by bees, butteflies, and other pollinators.
    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. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Mounding
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    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:
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The purple red flowers are two lipped and three lobed with the center lobe being the largest. The spikes appear in whorls along the stem. There are also 2 short stamens and 2 long stamens they bloom all summer and into fall.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    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 Color:
    Green
    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:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought