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Manitoba Museum

Mint (Lamiaceae)


Prunella vulgaris L.

The flowers of this perennial have no obvious floral scent, and attract bees, small butterflies, moths, and skippers. Some moth larvae eat the leaves, but mammalian herbivores do not like their bitter taste. Plants have been used for medicinal purposes, widely as a remedy for throat illnesses. They prefer disturbed sites, sometimes becoming weedy. Seeds are flung from their fruits when rain hits the calyx tube, causing it to spring back.

Flower Colour:

  • Purple

Flowering Season:

  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Fall

Flowering Months:

  • August
  • July
  • June
  • May
  • September

Canadian Rarity Status:

Not rare. Listed as “may be at risk” in Saskatchewan and the Yukon.

Physical Appearance:

Unbranched, solitary or clustered stems grow 10-50 cm tall, are hairy, and 4-sided. The opposite leaves are lance to oval-shaped with smooth to bluntly-toothed edges. Tubular flowers occur in a dense terminal spike above the upper leaves. Each one is hairy inside, and divided into an upper, hood-like lip and a lower, fringed, 3-lobed lip. Fruits (four nutlets) are clustered together inside the persistent, dark green to purplish, hairy calyx.

Similar Species:

Marsh Hedge-nettle (Stachys pilosa Nutt.)

Gardening Notes:

Seeds and/or plants may be available from greenhouses and seed supply companies specializing in native plants. Plants are a good addition to prairie gardens.

Canadian Distribution:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland/Labrador
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon

Prairie Types:

  • Fescue Prairie
  • Tall Grass Prairie


  • Forests
  • Prairies

Moisture Conditions:

  • Moderate
  • Moist

Light Preference:

  • Full Sun
  • Part Shade

Soil Preference:

  • Loam
  • Organic