Prunella vulgaris (Self-heal)
|Also known as:||Heal-all|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; roadsides, open woods, fields|
|Bloom season:||June - October|
|Plant height:||6 to 20 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FAC MW: FAC NCNE: FAC|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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A thick spike, 1 to 2 inches long, of ½-inch long, irregular, tubular flowers. The upper lip is blue to purple, the lower lip has 3 lobes, the 2 side lobes small and light blue to lavender, the center lobe white to lavender and fringed all around the edges. Dark purple-tipped stamens and a white style arc along the inside of the upper lip. The calyx is bell-shaped, about 3/8 inch long, green to purple, and sparsely hairy.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are up to 2¾ inches long and to 1 inch across, lance to egg-shaped, rounded at the base, pointed or blunt at the tip, mostly toothless, with the surfaces hairless to sparsely hairy. Leaf stalks are variously hairy, up to 1 inch long on the lower plant becoming shorter as leaves ascend the stem, with the uppermost leaves sometimes stalkless. Stems are square, variously hairy, and typically much branched.
The persistent calyx holds 4 1-seeded nutlets.
There are 2 recognized varieties, both of which are found in Minnesota: var. lanceolata leaves are lance-oblong, hairless or sparsely covered in soft hairs; var. vulgaris leaves are egg-shaped to oblong and slightly larger than var. lanceolata, the upper surface hairless or variously covered in stiff hairs. While this species (or at least one of the varieties) is generally considered native to North America, the DNR considers both varieties introduced in Minnesota. We are undecided on that particular subject.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Wild River State Park, Chisago County, and in Ramsey County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?