DOWNY WOUNDWORT

Stachys germanica

Mint / Dead-Nettle Family [Lamiaceae]

month8jul month8july month8aug

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8purple
morph
morph8zygo
petals
petalsZ2
stem
stem8square
rarity
rarityZrare

Early July, West Oxfordshire. Photo: © Chris Hughes
Grows to 80cm, sometimes 1m tall in limestone areas, but is a very rare [RRR].


Early July, West Oxfordshire. Photo: © Chris Hughes
Very white-downy, but not as downy-white as that of Lamb's-Ear (Stachys byzantina). The leaves look like they are surrounded by an aura which only the teeth can permeate. Flowers zygomorphic and pinkish-purple, the hood (upper lip) darker than the lower lip.


Early July, West Oxfordshire. Photo: © Chris Hughes


Early July, West Oxfordshire. Photo: © Chris Hughes
The lower lip has much paler parts near the throat, but also some deeper purple streaks. Woundworts all have 4 stamens, seen here splaying out sideways from the mouth of the flower. There are 5 dark-purple sepal teeth, splaying out from around the flower half hidden by the hairs. Other flowers have not yet emerged from the depths of the woolly hairs.


Early July, West Oxfordshire. Photo: © Chris Hughes
Open wide, this wont hurt.


Early July, West Oxfordshire. Photo: © Chris Hughes
The leaf teeth are curved on one edge and slightly forwardly-directed.


Some similarities to : Limestone Woundwort (Stachys alpina) which is also softly hairy, the same 1m height and without rhizomes but it is not as hairy as Downy Woundwort and the reddish-purple flowers are readily visible almost in their entirety. Limestone Woundwort is also as rare as Downy Woundwort, gaining an [RRR] moniker from Prof. Clive Stace.

Many similarities to : Lamb's-Ear (Stachys byzantica) which is even hairier than Downy Woundwort, but Downy Woundwort lacks underground rhizomes by which Lamb's-Ear spreads far for readily. The flowers are only slightly bigger (by up to 20%) than those of Downy Woundwort. Lamb's-Ear is not native, but rather a garden escape.

In the same Dead-nettle family of Lamiaceae (but in a differing genus) lies Downy Hemp-nettle (Galeopsis segetum) but that only grows to half the height (50cm), the flowers are pale-yellow and a different shape, but the most important way to tell the difference is that this plant IS an extinct (in the UK) [E] and not just a very rare [RRR].

Downy Woundwort is a native plant lacking rhizomes and which grows in limestone soils but in so few areas as to be vulnerable to extinction. It grows in grassland, on the edge of woods and beside hedges


  Stachys germanica  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Lamiaceae  

Distribution
 family8Mint / Dead-Nettle family8Lamiaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Stachys
Stachys
(Woundworts)

DOWNY WOUNDWORT

Stachys germanica

Mint / Dead-Nettle Family [Lamiaceae]