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Not immediately obvious as a dead-nettle but a very common species on bare and shallow grass (including lawns!).



  • Selfheal: the chemistry set

    Post date: Sunday, 16 October, 2016 - 20:56

    Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris) is quite a variable plant, it seems to change with the conditions it is growing in. It can grow in short turf, especially lawns, where it is very small and sprawling which may be a response to cutting or grazing. On bare ground it is a taller, bolder plant although still generally no more than a few inches tall. It is quite common and can be found in many situations although it prefers neutral or acid soils.

    The flowers are a purple/blue colour but quickly die off to become brown and they can stay in this state for some time. Withe the flowers being quite small it is not immediately obvious that it is a member of the deadnettle family. Under close inspection it is possible to see the cluster of trumpet=like flowers that are distinctive to deadnettles.

    Also known as heal-all it is a traditional remedy for cuts and bruises when mashed and applied as a poultice and it was considered both a cleansing and healing agent. It has a complex chemistry with Wikipedia listing seventeen different ingredients! The plant is also fit for human consumption apparently with the leaves being suitable for use in salads or for drying and making into tea.


Common Name Selfheal
Scientific Name Prunella vulgaris
Species Group Deadnettle Family Lamiaceae
Interest Level
Look for
Identification Notes
Primary Habitat
Family Borage family - Boraginaceae
Status Common
Flower Colour Group Purple
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
  • 08 - August
  • 09 - September
  • 10 - October
  • 11 - November
Preferred Environment
Look for short plant with clusters of purple flowers
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Notebook Distribution Map Sites List Some Charts Some Photographs Recent Records Guidance Notes

To see related species click here: 

Deadnettle Family Lamiaceae