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Prunella vulgaris is considered weedy and common, but when cultivated in a mass, has a nice groundcover effect with small lance or wedge-shaped leaves and thick short flower spikes of small purple flowers held atop square-shaped stems. It is in the mint family, but not aromatic.
Easy & Everywhere
Heal-All grows in full sun or shade and prefers moist or mesic soils, but is tough and adaptable. Said to attract butterflies and bumblebees, however pollinators have not been widely observed on its flowers in Floyd County, VA by this author. Grows up to two feet tall to form a tangled subshrub structure if encouraged. Foliage turns brown by early fall after blooming, though plants which have been mowed or cut back will often bloom later in the fall if permitted.
A Valuable Plant Forgotten
Prunella vulgaris has a long history of medicinal use and lore, as its many common names testify. However, it is widely overlooked today both by herbal medicine and pharmaceutical science. It is also edible, raw and cooked. Read more at Wikipedia.org and Gardenia.net.
Native Status Unclear
Prunella vulgaris‘ native status is not absolutely clear, and the Flora says this on the native status: “Both native and introduced genotypes occur in Virginia, the native ones (var. lanceolata (W. Bart.) Fernald) being strikingly more floriferous and colorful. However, many specimens cannot be adequately assigned to var. because of extensive hybridization and intergrading diagnostic characters. Since it is not possible to map native and introduced populations separately, the species is treated here as native.” University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension speculates that Prunella vulgaris “is probably so widely distributed because our ancestors found it useful, though modern medicine essentially ignores it.” (UACE).