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Prunella vulgaris

Prunella vulgaris L.

 

Common Selfheal, Heal-all, Heart-of-the-earth, Healall

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderLamialesAromatic herbs and shrubs, including lavender, lilac, olive, jasmine, ash, teak, snapdragon, sesame, psyllium, garden sage, mint, basil, and rosemary
FamilyLamiaceaeMint family
GenusPrunellaFrom either Latin for “purple;” or German “Braune” and its English cognate, “Brunella,” an illness thought to be cured by this plant
SpeciesvulgarisMeans “common”

About plant names...

Heal-all is a common native of North America, Europe, and Asia. It is a member of the mint family.

Identification: Plants are 1¾-16" (5-40 cm) high, usually toward the small end of this. It is often found in lawns. Stems are approximately square in cross section, green or reddish, and lightly to densely hairy. Leaves are up to 2" (6 cm) × ¾" (2 cm), oval or sometimes lance-shaped, on fairly long petioles (leaf stems). The flowers appear on spikes at the top. They look uneven and disheveled because they don’t bloom all at once. Each flower is about ⅜" (1 cm) around, purple on top and white below, and bilaterally symmetrical: if you cut it in half vertically, the halves are mirror images. The lower center petal has a ragged edge.

Medical: As heal-all’s name suggests, it has long been used in folk medicine, for a wide range of symptoms. Symptoms include fevers, rheumatism, liver ailments, eye problems, swollen glands, urinary problems, sore throats; heal-all was also used as an antibiotic and general cure-all. Even today, it is sometimes used to treat minor injuries such as sores, burns, or bruises, and as a mouthwash for mouth ulcers. However, I was not able to find any definitive studies on these medicinal properties.

 

Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal, Heal-all, Heart-of-the-earth, Healall)

7/15/2012 · Fort Point State Park, Stockton Springs, ME
≈ 4 × 5" (10 × 13 cm)

Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal, Heal-all, Heart-of-the-earth, Healall)

6/29/2017 · Gordon and Kathy’s, Prospect, ME · By J Gordon Williamson

Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal, Heal-all, Heart-of-the-earth, Healall)

8/6/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm)

Some similar species:

 
Ajuga reptans

Glechoma hederacea

Lamium purpureum
Common Name

Bugle

Ground-ivy

Purple Dead-nettle
Plant Forms loose mats. Plants are 6-9" (15-22 cm) in height. Often only 3" (7.6 cm) tall, it sometimes reaches 12" (30 cm). Extends horizontally, hence the term “ivy.” 4-16" (10-40 cm) high, and somewhat hairy.
Flowers Blue, appearing from May to Jun. Flowers are blue, purple, or lavender, occurring in groups of 3. The flower shape is unusual. A small upper petal is divided into two lobes. A larger lower petal has a lobe on either side, and a large bottom lobe that is divided into two more lobes. Each flower is ⅜-½" (9.5-12 mm) across. Flowers are ¼-¾" (6.3-19 mm), appearing from Mar to Oct. They are pink to red to purple in color.
Leaves Dark green with purple highlights, opposite, and simple, sometimes toothed. Round or kidney-shaped, with scalloped edges, ⅜-1¼" (9.5-31 mm) in diameter. Toothed, round or kidney-shaped, deeply and irregularly veined, and ¼-1¼" (6.3-31 mm). Each stem node has two opposite leaves, and each succeeded pair is rotated 90° from the last. Upper, younger leaves often have a red-violet tinge.
Stem   Square in cross-section. Stems are 4-angled and glabrous.
Range/ Zones

USDA Zones: 3-10

Habitats Damp grassy fields, damp woods. Moist ground, woods, slopes, roadsides, waste places, lawns Fields, weedy places, gardens.
Type Wild Wild Wild
Occurrence Common Common Common

 

  You are here
Prunella vulgaris
Common Name

Common Selfheal
Plant 1¾-16" (5-40 cm) high, usually toward the small end of this. It is often found in lawns.
Flowers On spikes at the top. They look uneven and disheveled because they don’t bloom all at once. Each flower is about ⅜" (1 cm) around, purple on top and white below, and bilaterally symmetrical.
Leaves Up to 2" (6 cm) × ¾" (2 cm), oval or sometimes lance-shaped, on fairly long petioles (leaf stems).
Stem Approximately square in cross section, green or reddish, and lightly to densely hairy.
Range/ Zones

Habitats Fields, roadsides, weedy area, open woods
Type Wild
Occurrence Common

 

Online References:

Prunella vulgaris on Missouriplants.com

Prunella vulgaris at the Vanderbilt University Bioimages web site

Prunella vulgaris on Planet Botanic

Prunella vulgaris on the Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Prunella vulgaris at Illinois Wildflowers

Prunella vulgaris on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Prunella vulgaris on Wildflowers, Ferns & Trees of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah

Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal, Heal-all, Heart-of-the-earth, Healall)

7/11/2016 · Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Wildflower/Porcupine

Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal, Heal-all, Heart-of-the-earth, Healall)

6/29/2017 · Gordon and Kathy’s, Prospect, ME · By J Gordon Williamson

Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal, Heal-all, Heart-of-the-earth, Healall)

8/8/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 14 × 9" (35 × 23 cm) ID is uncertain

Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal, Heal-all, Heart-of-the-earth, Healall)

8/6/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 4 × 6" (11 × 14 cm)

Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal, Heal-all, Heart-of-the-earth, Healall)

6/30/2013 · Great Hill Conservation Land, Acton, MA
≈ 6 × 4½" (14 × 11 cm)

Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal, Heal-all, Heart-of-the-earth, Healall)

6/4/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer, MA
≈ 7 × 8" (18 × 20 cm)

Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal, Heal-all, Heart-of-the-earth, Healall)

9/8/2017 · Bates Land and Blackman Land, Groton Conservation Trust, Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 2½" (9.0 × 6.4 cm)

Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal, Heal-all, Heart-of-the-earth, Healall)

7/6/2017 · Mt. Watatic, access road, Ashby, MA
≈ 4 × 4" (10 × 11 cm)

Prunella vulgaris description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 7 Jul 2017.

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Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal, Heal-all, Heart-of-the-earth, Healall)

7/11/2016 · Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Wildflower/Porcupine

Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal, Heal-all, Heart-of-the-earth, Healall)

8/8/2010 · Jeff Smith Trail, Beaver Brook Association Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 3½ × 4" (9.4 × 11 cm)

Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal, Heal-all, Heart-of-the-earth, Healall)

8/6/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 4½ × 5" (12 × 13 cm)

Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal, Heal-all, Heart-of-the-earth, Healall)

7/6/2017 · Mt. Watatic, access road, Ashby, MA
≈ 4 × 4½" (10 × 11 cm)

Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal, Heal-all, Heart-of-the-earth, Healall)

7/23/2017 · Pine Grove Furnace State Park, PA
≈ 5 × 4" (13 × 11 cm)

Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal, Heal-all, Heart-of-the-earth, Healall)

7/11/2012 · Jeff Smith Trail, Pepperell, MA
≈ 5 × 4½" (12 × 12 cm) ID is uncertain

Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal, Heal-all, Heart-of-the-earth, Healall)

8/18/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 11" (18 × 27 cm)

Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal, Heal-all, Heart-of-the-earth, Healall)

6/27/2012 · Townsend Wildlife Management Area, Townsend, MA
≈ 4 × 6" (10 × 15 cm)

Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal, Heal-all, Heart-of-the-earth, Healall)

7/27/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 11 × 10" (27 × 24 cm)

Prunella vulgaris (Common Selfheal, Heal-all, Heart-of-the-earth, Healall)

6/30/2013 · Great Hill Conservation Land, Acton, MA
≈ 5 × 6" (12 × 14 cm)

Range:

About this map...