Saturday, February 2, 2013

Botany picture #29: Prunella vulgaris

Prunella vulgaris, the common self-heal, Switzerland, 2009. Now you will perhaps be thinking, what is so special about that? I can see that in my front lawn. Or, if you are for example from Australia or Argentina, you just need to find the right kind of disturbed forest habitat in your country. Yes, this thing is all over the place, and it is small and unspectacular to boot.

But this is merely the start of a small series on the genus Prunella of the beautiful and aromatic mint family (Lamiaceae), and as such this least interesting species represents the warm-up for nicer plants to come.

Opinions vary on how many species Prunella has. The most lumping opinion is four, with one restricted to SW France and NE Spain, two mostly European, and one cosmopolitan. This is the cosmopolitan one, obviously. Splitters would recognize a segregate of another species in the Pyrenees and perhaps a few segregates of P. vulgaris especially in China, but for present purposes I will assume the lumper's stance. The four species accepted on that stance are then fairly easy to recognize; P. vulgaris is unique with its stoloniferous (long-creeping) growth form.

1 comment:

  1. Eigentlich eine schöne Blüte. Es wächst bei mir in einem meist trockenen Bachbett (Maringa Creek in East Gippsland).