GYPSYWORT

GIPSYWORT

Lycopus europaeus

Mint / Dead-Nettle Family [Lamiaceae]  

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8Aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8white
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ4
type
typeZtieredwhorls
stem
stem8square

2nd Aug 2005, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Parbold. Photo: © RWD
Grows to 1m in height beside fresh water, such as streams, rivers, ponds, lakes and often canals. Sometimes in wet woodland or dune slacks.


1st Aug 2008, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Rufford Branch Photo: © RWD
Leaves lanceolate and deeply serrated.


30th July 2007, Huddersfield Narrow Canal, Slaithwaite. Photo: © RWD
Leaves in opposite pairs up the stem with a dense whorl of small white flowers just above.


7th Aug 2007, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Burscough Bridge. Photo: © RWD
Stamens protrude out from the small flowers.


11th Aug 2015, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Parbold, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Leaves in opposite pairs on a square stem, alternately at right-angles.


2nd Aug 2005, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Parbold. Photo: © RWD
Veins of leaves indented into leaf.


1st Aug 2008, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Rufford Branch. Photo: © RWD
There are numerous small (3-5mm) flowers in closely-stacked whorls.


11th Aug 2015, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Parbold, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Flowers have four petals and sit inside a toothed sepal tube possessing 5 long pointed teeth.


11th Aug 2015, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Parbold, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Only two stamens per flower, the stamen protruding beyond the petals. Inner recesses of flower has long white hairs.


11th Aug 2015, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Parbold, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Stamens have white filaments and an unusual pink-coloured anther which is bi-lobed. The white stigma (visible flower on left) is forked.


20th Oct 2016, Macclesfield Canal, Poynton. Photo: © RWD
Developing fruits (a four-chambered schizocarp) within the 5-pointed sepal tubes after the flower has gone.


Some similarities to : Balm (but the leaves of Gipsywort do not smell of lemons when crushed as do those of Balm) and to Motherwort. The flowers possess no odour.

Gipsywort, (Lycopus Eurapaeus), is the only Lycopus, at least in the natural world. The leaves are in diametrically opposite pairs, separated at wide intervals and alternately at right-angles up the step. The leaves themselves are boldly saw-toothed, and just above each pair are multiwhorls of white or creamy-white small flowers, mainly pointing upwards.

The plant juice yields a black dye once used to dye fabric worn by Gypsy fortune tellers, hence the name.

Gipsywort belongs to a Genus all of its own (at least of those plants that grow in the UK).


  Lycopus europaeus  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Lamiaceae  

Distribution
family8mint family8Dead-Nettle  family8Lamiacaea

 BSBI maps
genus8lycopus
Lycopus
(Gipsywort)

GYPSYWORT

GIPSYWORT

Lycopus europaeus

Mint / Dead-Nettle Family [Lamiaceae]  

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