BETONY

WOOD BETONY

Betonica officinalis

Formerly: Stachys Officinalis
Mint Family (Dead-Nettle) Family [Lamiaceae]  

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8Aug month8sep month8sept month8Oct

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8purple
 
flower
flower8beetroot
 
morph
morph8zygo
 
petals
petalsZ2
 
type
typeZclustered
 
stem
stem8round
 
smell
smell8pong smell8pongs smell8awful smell8vile smell8stinks smell8reeks smell8nauseous
pongs

31st July 2007, Gait Barrows, Silverdale, Lancashire. Photo: © RWD
Grows to 75cm on heaths and grassy places, but not usually on clay.


23rd July 2004, foot of Whernside Hill, Yorkshire Dales. Photo: © RWD
Flowers bright purple in a short spike.


31st July 2007, Gait Barrows, Silverdale, Lancashire. Photo: © RWD
From above flowers arranged seemingly haphazardly around the stem. Flowe buds have short hairs.


15th July 2005, Middlebarrow Plain campsite, Silverdale, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Flowers long and tubular with a slightly flared opening.


6th June 2016, Waitby Greenriggs, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Sepal tubes dark-purple to beetroot coloured and with long teeth. The flowers are actually in whorls although with most flowers being at odd angles this is not always apparent. The flower head is congested with flowers.


31st July 2007, Gait Barrows, Silverdale, Lancashire. Photo: © RWD
Lower lip of flower has four lobes. Upper lip forms a short cowl. Stems square and slightly hairy. A distinguishing feature are the two leaves just below the flower-head, which are angled downwards at 45° and have shallow rounded or blunt teeth.


6th June 2016, Waitby Greenriggs, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Lower lip has 3 lobes, the central one being longer and wider than those on the wings. Upper petal forms a narrow hood over the innards: a white forked style and 4 stamens just below the hood.


6th June 2016, Waitby Greenriggs, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Sepal tubes (aka calyx) has 5 teeth which are more or less equal in length. Stems with long white hairs downwardly appressed hard against the stem.


6th June 2016, Waitby Greenriggs, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
There are only between 2 and 4 pairs of stem leaves, in opposite pairs.


31st July 2007, Gait Barrows, Silverdale, Lancashire. Photo: © RWD
Leaves a darker green, slightly hairy with blunt teeth and prominently net veined.


6th June 2016, Waitby Greenriggs, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Leaves botryoidal between the veins.


Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : the dense but short spike of long and thin purple flowers and the few, small, paired leaves on the stem. Leaves have convex teeth and are rounded at the tip.

There is only one plant under the Betonica Genus, Betony, which is native and found in grasslands, hedgebanks, heaths, sometimes in large but loose groups. It avoids heavy soils such as with clay, but is common in England and Wales, but only locally in Jersey and extremely local in Scotland and Ireland. On cliff tops it is often very short.

BETAINS




Trigonelline, Stachydrine and Betonine, Betonicine and Choline are all alkaloids found within Betony. They are all called 'Betaines', a type of Zwitterion where a nitrogen or phosphorus atom has a positive charge. The negative counterpart is seldom shown - it could be any negative ion, usually the chloride ion since common salt, NaCl, is a ubiquitous source. Choline Chloride is an example of a betaine with chlorine as the negative ion.

Trigonelline (N-methylnicotinic Acid, or Nicotinic acid betaine), is found not only in Betony, but also in Fenugreek seeds, Garden Peas, Hemp seeds, Oats, Coffee and Potatos amongst a few other plants. Trigonelline in coffee is said to impart coffee with some anti-oxidative properties and contribute to its aroma and slightly bitter taste. Trigonelline is also produced within the human body as a result of the metabolism of niacin (Vitamin B3 or Nicotinic Acid), after which it is excreted in urine.

Stachydrine is also present also in Yarrow, Motherwort, Alfalfa (Lucerne), Chrysanthemum and Citrus plants. It is the betaine of L-Proline, and is also known as Proline Betaine. It is an osmoprotectant capable of helping organisms to survive extreme osmotic stress, such as the bacterium E. coli when it finds itself in harsh environments such as in the urine of mammals. The bacterium uptakes the stachydrine from the environment it is in with the help of various internal transport mechanisms. Your Author can find no evidence that Stachydrine is present in plants of the genus Stachys, such as Hedge Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica) to which Betony once belonged.

Structurally, Betonine is almost identical to Stachydrine, but with an additional hydroxyl group attached to the ring.

Betaine itself is a non-proteinogenic amino acid (NPAA) which can masquerade as an amino acid in the human body and become wrongly incorporated into proteins, which then might not function correctly. But because of great confusion between betaine and 'a betaine' the Betaine shown above is now generally referred to as N,N,N-TrimethylGlycine, and is the betaine originally found in Beet (Beta vulgaris) from which it derives its name.

Choline is just the cation (the part of the ion with positive charge). It can be paired up with any negative ion, but usually this is the chloride ion, making Choline Chloride. Acetyl Choline is another important molecule with the Choline backbone, and is usually found as the chloride, Acetylcholine Chloride. Choline is an essential nutrient for mammals and is usually grouped as belonging to the B-complex vitamins.

OTHER CONSTITUENTS

Betony is also said to contain a series of PhenylEthanoid Glycosides, Betonyoside A to Betonyoside F plus Acetoside. Other phenolic compounds include Campneosides, Forsythoside B, Leucosceptoside and Tannins.


Shown above is just one of the six PhenylEthanoid Glycosides, Betonyoside F which is found in Betony. The moieties in red are glycosides, two differing 6-membered sugars and one of a 5-membered pentose.

However, he has found two newly discovered Iridoid Glycosides which Betony contains, one a diglycoside called Allobetonicaside (which contains the sugar Allose) and 6-O-AcetylMioporoside as well several already known Iridoid Glycosides, Acetylharpagide, Harpagide, Harpagoside and Reptoside.

Several Terpenoids such as Linalool, Ocimene Phellandrene and Terpinene, the sesquiterpenoids Cadinene, Cadinol, and Caryophyllene plus the diterpenoids Betonicolide and the glycoside Betonycoside B, (which are not to be confused with the PhenylEthanoid Glycosides mentioned above with a very similar name!).


As can be seen, the diterpenoid glycoside Betonycoside B displayed immediately above is very different to the PhenylEthanoid Glycoside shown higher up. What a difference a 'c' makes...


  Betonica officinalis  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Lamiaceae  

Distribution
family8mint family8dead nettle family8labiatea family8lamiaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8betonica
Betonica
(Betony)

BETONY

WOOD BETONY

Betonica officinalis

Formerly: Stachys Officinalis
Mint Family (Dead-Nettle) Family [Lamiaceae]  

WildFlowerFinder Homepage