Prunella vulgaris is an interesting and quite beautiful little wildflower plant. If you’re looking for something to add to a meadow garden, or for a ground cover plant for those shady areas self heal is the plant for you.
The plants produce pretty blue-violet flowers in summer, the flowers freely produce nectar and are highly attractive to bees.
This semi evergreen, hardy perennial is easy to establish and forms dense lush green mats. It prefers a position in moist shade, but can tolerate sun and are fairly drought tolerant, they do not need much water once established. The plants do not need aftercare and deer and rabbits don't seem to eat it.
Prunella vulgaris is commonly called Self-heal, as the name suggests it was once a sought-after medicinal herb by herbalists and country folk alike to cure a variety of health ailments.
The plants spread from central tap root and send stalks across the ground spreading out in a star shape from the central stem. Each tubular flower is about 1cm (½in) long and divided into two lips. The upper lip is light purple and functions as a hood, while the lower lip is pale and fringed
Typically this plant grows 10 to 50cm (4 to 20in) in height depending on various circumstances. It thrives in a wide range of grasslands including flowery lawns and meadows. It can be grown in long grass but positively thrives in short grass or grass which is cut each year or grazed periodically. If you want to mow it down you can, it just produces stronger thicker shorter stems, and will even bloom after mowing.
Self-heal prefers a reasonably good soil, but if planted under trees the leaf mulch provided by the leaves is usually enough to keep it very happy. It will grow on poorer soils but plants won't be quite as lush.
Prunella vulgaris can be sown directly where they are to grow any time of the year,
It can even be sown direct into lawns – ideally after the lawn has been scarified.
Sowing Direct: :
Choose a position, ideally in part shade in moist soil. Prepare the ground well and rake to a fine tilth.
Sow seed sparingly or they will choke out other seedlings. Sow on the surface and spaced 30cm (12in) apart and cover the seed with its own depth of soil to exclude light.
If sowing more than one annual in the same bed, mark the sowing areas with a ring of sand and label.
The seedlings will appear in rows approx 6 to 8 weeks after planting and can be easily told from nearby weed seedlings. Thin the seedlings out so they are at least 30cm (12in) apart by early summer.
Water the ground regularly, especially during dry periods. The plants may be easily transplanted in clumps.
Self-Heal is known as the heal-all and cure-all plant as it is thought to have all manner of properties that can be of assistance in healing in general. Medicinal uses include treatment for wounds, cuts, bruises, sores, ulcers, diarrhoea and fevers. Said to have an antibiotic effect, it has a reputation for keeping people well during an outbreak of infectious diseases.
Selfheal has a long history as a Chinese medicinal herb. In New Zealand it is used in ointments to heal stubborn cuts and bruises that won’t heal on their own.
Wildlife & Wildflower gardens, Cottage/Informal Gardens, Bees and Butterflies
Leaves are edible raw or cooked. Wash well first to remove some of the bitter tannins in the leaves. They can be used in salads for a little extra bite. Good in casseroles, soups and stews. An interesting tea can be produced from fresh or dried leaves making a refreshing beverage. The leaves are at their best when harvested in mid-summer.
An olive green dye is obtained from the stems and flowers.
Forage for Pollinators:
Prunella vulgaris produces nectar very freely and is pollinated by bees. It is very attractive to Honeybees and Bumblebees, and probably Solitary bees.
Prunella vulgaris is a perennial plant native to Europe but can also be found growing in parts of Asia and the Unites States. In open and exposed situations, the plant is diminutive, while in more sheltered spots it is larger in all its parts. Habitats include moist to mesic black soil prairies, alongside rivers and lakes, meadows, thickets, forest openings, woodland borders, pastures, and abandoned fields.
The name Prunella was originally 'Brunella' or 'Brunellen', a name given by the Germans as it was used to treat “die Breuen”, an inflammatory mouth and throat problem, common to soldiers in garrisons. The doctrine of signatures also indicated its use for throat problems, for its corolla was seen to resemble a throat with swollen glands.
The species name vulgaris is a Latin adjective meaning common, or something that is familiar to most people. It is often given as a species name to plants that are the most prevalent of their genus.
Commonly known as Self Heal, it is also known as the heal-all and cure-all plant as it is thought to have all manner of properties that can be of assistance in healing in general. According to the 16th-century herbalist John Gerard, ‘there is not a better wounde herbe in the world’. The 17th-century botanist Nicholas Culpeper wrote that the plant is called selfheal because ‘when you are hurt, you may heal yourself’.
In addition to being very well known as Self Heal, Prunella vulgaris has many other common and local names: Square stem, Thimble flower, Sickle-heal, Sicklewort, Slough-heal, Hookweed, Panay, Proud carpenter, Herb carpenter, Hercules' all-heal, Hook-heal, Carpenter's herb, Heart of the earth, Brunel, Caravaun bog, Carpenter grass, Blue curls, Brownwort, Heal-all, All-heal, Bumble-bees, Herb, Fly Flowers, Heart of the Earth, Hook-heal, London Bottles, Pick Pocket, Pimpernel, Prince's Feather.
Self-Heal is one of those common wildflowers that have found their way to North America. It is known there as 'Heart of the Earth' and 'Blue Curls.'
- Additional Information
Packet Size 500mg Average Seed Count 500 seeds Family Lamiaceae Genus Prunella vulgaris Species vulgaris Common Name Wildflower of Britiain and Ireland Other Common Names Heal-all, Cure-all plant Hardiness Hardy Perennial Height 10 to 50cm (4 to 20in) Spread 20 to 30cm (8 to 12in) Aspect Sun to Partial Shade Soil Moist, fertile soil Time to Sow Sow direct at any time of the year.