lpearce's picture

Hybrid Woundwort

Observed: 27th July 2009 By: lpearcelpearce’s reputation in Plantslpearce’s reputation in Plantslpearce’s reputation in Plants
Hedge woundwort
Hedge woundwort

Not sure at all about this one. It was at the side of a road. The plant was about a foot high and smelt unpleasant when the leaves were rubbed

Species interactions

No interactions present.


Jonathan's picture

I think you are right. The

I think you are right. The flowers look more pink than the "beetroot red' described by Francis Rose, but that could just be the photo. Marsh woundwort (S. palustris) has pinker flowers (was your plant in a wet place?), but is odourless, so I agree this must be S. sylvatica.

University of Edinburgh and Biodiversity Observatory (OU)

the naturalist man's picture

Hedge woundwort

This is a common species here in North and East Yorkshire, the sharp, nasty smell is a give away.

This is one of the plants whose name tells you what it was used for. It is thought to have anticeptic properties and was, therefore, used to bind cuts and deep wounds. Gerard, a 17th century herbalist calls it clown's woundwort in his Historie of Plants, 1639, explaining that this was due to a farmer refusing to let Gerard heal his sythe wound for free, rather prefering to use woundwort. Gerard then goes on to say he too has since used woundwort to heal wounds. Therefore, it is hard to say who was the clown the farmer for refusing free medical aid or Gerard for scoffing the use of woundwort.

It is also known as all-heal as it was used for many other things including a tea made from the leaves being used to cure diarrhia.

Graham Banwell

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gardener's picture

Its definitely not Hedge

Its definitely not Hedge Woundwort, Stachys sylvatica as the leaves are the wrong shape - much too long and narrow.

Marsh Woundwort, S. palustris can have a faint odour, its not as strong as S. sylvatica but can still be noticeable.

Its probably the hybrid betwee the two, Stachys x ambigua: the flowers indicate the Hedge woundwort parentage whereas the leaves indicate Marsh woundwort.
The hybrid tends to be very variably recorded but is widespread throughout the British Isles and can occur in the absence of the parents. Its usually more or less sterile and spreads by root fragments.

Link to the BSBI distribution map for Stachys x ambigua is below:

(I'll admit it quietly, but I've always liked the Hedge Woundwort smell, I find it very medicinal-smelling!)