Hedge or Wood Woundwort - Stachys sylvatica, click for a larger image
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Hedge or Wood Woundwort - Stachys sylvatica, click for a larger image

Hedge / Wood Woundwort - Stachys sylvatica

A hairy perennial plant of shady spots in woodland, forests, roadsides, alpine meadows and grasslands growing to 90cm (3ft) growing from a green rhizome, found over Europe and Asia.  Flowers in whorls of five or six at the base of leaf-like bracts, 13-15mm (0.5-0.75in) long, claret or dark red colouration with whitish markings, upper lip hooded and the lower lip subdivided into three lobes, the middle being the largest and and un-notched.  Calyx with five near-equal teeth.

Leaves 4-9cm (1.6-3.5in) long, narrow on stalks 2-6cm (0.8-2.3in).  Reputed to have a rather unpleasant smell when crushed.  Differing from Marsh Woundwort - S. palustris in habitats, they can nevertheless hybridise where possible.  It was used as a medicinal herb from where it gets the "woundwort" part of it's name, and dye plant producing a yellow tint.  Food plant for the Small Rivulet moth.

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