Prunella vulgaris

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Prunella vulgaris

Prunella vulgaris, or self-heal, is a herbaceous flowering plant in the Lamiaceae family. Sometimes also called heal-all.


  • Kingdom Plantae – Plants
  • Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
  • Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
  • Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
  • Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
  • Subclass - Asteridae
  • Order - Lamiales
  • Family Lamiaceae – Mint family
  • Genus Prunella
  • Species Prunella vulgaris – Self-heal


Perennial herb from an enlarged stem-base or short rhizome, fibrous-rooted; stems solitary or clustered, erect to spreading or reclining, 10-50 cm long, short-hairy to glabrous, 4-angled. All stem leaves or some basal; opposite, lanceolate or elliptic to broadly egg-shaped, 2-7 cm long, 0.7-4 cm wide, entire or obscurely toothed, glabrous or lightly hairy; stalks 5-30 mm long; lower leaves often broader with more rounded base than upper. Inflorescence of many flowers in dense terminal spikes, 2-5 cm long, about 1.5-2 cm wide, usually subtended by upper leaves; bracts kidney- to egg-shaped, about 1 cm long, reddish, tips pointed, margins hairy; corollas tubular, blue-violet or occasionally pink or white, 10-15 mm long in bisexual flowers, 8-11 mm long in pistillate flowers, fine-hairy inside, 2-lipped, the upper lip hood-like and entire, the lower lip 3-lobed with broad middle lobe; calyces dark green to purplish, 7-10 mm long, 2-lipped, lips longer than tube, the upper lip squared-off and with 3 short awns, the lower lip with 2 lanceolate spine-tipped teeth. Nutlets, 4 clustered together, egg-shaped, smooth. Two subspecies occur in BC. 1. Principal stem leaves egg-shaped to oblong (averaging half as broad as long), broadly wedge-shaped or rounded at base ssp. vulgaris1. Principal stem leaves lanceolate to egg-shaped (averaging one-third as broad as long), narrowly wedge- shaped to abruptly pointed at base ssp. lanceolata [1]

Occasional basal leaves of Prunella vulgaris


"Widespread throughout North America" [1]


Common in Mesic to dry roadsides, waste places, lawns, fields and open forests in the lowland, steppe and montane zones. [1]


Prunella vulgaris can be propagated by stolon, division, or seed. Propagation by stolon yields larger plants in a shorter amount of growing time. Stolons root wherever they touch soil. Cold-stratify seeds for approximately one month. Seeds can be started in flats, and when the plants are large enough to handle (approximately eight weeks) they can be transplanted into individual pots and grown to the desired size. Seeds may also be sown directly on site, preferably in late Fall to early Spring. [1]


Prunella vulgaris

Abbreviation: PRVU

Seed sample from: 2010

Average Measurement: 2.1 x 1.6 x 1.1

Measurement Range: L: 1.8 - 2.3, W: 1.3 - 1.9, D: 0.75 - 1.2


Shape: Seeds narrow at hilum end and broadening at opposite apex. Hilum protruding in a “v” or “u” shape.

Color: Seeds dark brown with black ribbing. Hilum white.

Surface: Seeds longitudinally striated with darker lines. Entire seed is very glossy, especially hilum.

Latitudinal Cross Section: elliptical PRVU lat elliptical.png

Longitudinal Cross Section: elliptical PRVU long elliptical.png

Basic Explanations and Assumptions:

The dimensions for the seeds are length x width x depth. The location of the hilum is used as the base of the seed, and the length is measured from hilum to the opposite apex. Where a style is present, the length is measured from the hilum to the bottom of the style. Width is measured at a right angle to the length at the widest part. Depth is measured at a right angle to the intersection of height and width lines.

Measurements included are the mean average for each measurement of ten separate seeds.

All measurements in millimeters unless otherwise noted.

Photo Gallery


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia

Prunella vulgaris. E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia []. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.