Stachys palustris

Botanical Name :Stachys palustris
Family : Lamiaceae – Mint family
Genus: Stachys L. – hedgenettle
Species : Stachys palustris L. – marsh hedgenettle
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division : Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms:
Stachys palustris L.

STPAE Stachys palustris L. var. elliptica Clos
STPAP7 Stachys palustris L. var. petiolata Clos
STPAS Stachys palustris L. var. segetum (Mutel) Grogn.

Common Name :Hedge Nettle or Hairy Hedge Nettle

Habitat :Stachys palustris  occurs primarily in central and northern Illinois, where it is occasional to locally common. In southern Illinois, it is absent or uncommon. Habitats include moist black soil prairies, edges of marshes, moist meadows in woodland areas, low-lying areas along roadsides and railroads, and the edges of fields. This plant can be found in either disturbed or high quality habitats.

Description:
Stachys palustris is  perennial plant , grows  about 2-3′ tall and little branched. The four-angled central stem is covered with fine hairs. The opposite leaves are up to 4″ long and 1¾” across. They are finely serrate along the margins and sessile against the stem (or nearly so). Their upper surface is dark green and covered with fine short hairs, while the lower surface is light green with hairs along the major veins. The foliage has a slightly rank smell. The central stem terminates in a spike of flowers about 4-8″ long when fully mature. This spike consists of about 6-10 whorls of flowers, each whorl having 4-8 flowers. A typical flower is about ½” long and tubular, with a hairy upper lip and a lower lip that is divided into 3 lobes (a large central lobe and smaller side lobes). The flowers are usually white with splotches of rosy purple; sometimes they are pink. The hairy calyx is green or purplish green, and divided into long triangular sepals. These sepals are more than half as long as the tube of the corolla (excluding the length of the lips).

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The blooming period occurs during the summer and lasts about 1-2 months. There is a mild floral scent that is sweet and pleasant. The flowers are eventually replaced by capsules containing small nutlets. The root system is rhizomatous and produces tubers that are edible. Hairy Hedge Nettle often forms vegetative colonies of varying size.

Cultivation: The preference is moist conditions and light shade to full sun. A soil that is loamy or sandy is satisfactory as long as it remains moist. Unlike other members of the Mint family, foliar disease doesn’t appear to bother the leaves to any significant degree.

Medicinal Uses:
One of the most effective sweating herbs, useful in the early stages of colds, flu, and fevers.  Internally used for gout, cramps, vertigo and hemorrhage.  It will relieve diarrhea and dysentery. Externally used for minor injuries.  The bruised leaves when applied to a wound will stop bleeding and help heal the wound.  It is an equivalent of comfrey in its effect on wounds.  It may be used directly or as an ointment or compress.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/prairie/plantx/hairy_hdgnettlex.htm
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=STPA&photoID=stpa_007_avp.tif
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm

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