Marsh Woundwort

Marsh Woundwort

Marsh Woundwort - Stachys palustris

A herbaceous plant growing from 30 to 120 centimetres tall, with horizontal, underground rhizome and erect four-edged generally unbranched stem that tends to bend under the weight of the inflorescence.

Lanceolate leaves with no stalk, up to ten centimetres long, opposite and tooth- edged.

The flowers, arranged in whorls at the axil of the small upper leaves, form a raceme shaped like a spike, which explains the name that Botanists gave the genus (stachys = spike).

The colour off the beautiful flowers can vary from pale pink to purple red, violet and mauve. The plant begins to flower in June and carries on all summer through. 

It is fairly common in the wetlands of northern Italy, but rarer in the central southern areas as far as Campania. It does not occur in the south or on the larger islands. 

Stachys palustris finds its ideal habitat at Lake Sibolla and especially at Fucecchio and Bientina Marshes, where it occurs in good number along the cross ditches, at the sides of the pools and often on lands that can be waterlogged until June.

Like other species belonging to the genus, in the past it was used as a herbal remedy, especially for treating deep wounds (as its English name implies).

Indeed recent experiments have confirmed the antiseptic properties of its essential oils.