Perennial, nearly prostrate to suberect, 1-5 dm; lvs few, petiolate, entire or obscurely toothed, the blade lanceolate or elliptic to broadly ovate, 2-9 נ0.7-4 cm, the lower mostly broader and with more rounded base than the upper; spikes 2-5 נ1.5-2 cm, the depressed-ovate, abruptly short- acuminate bracts 1 cm, strongly ciliate; cal 7-10 mm, green or purple, the lips longer than the tube, the teeth spinulose-tipped; cor blue-violet (pink or white), 1-2 cm (or smaller in plants with reduced anthers), the tube equaling or surpassing the cal, the lips short; 2n=28, 32. Nearly cosmopolitan. The European var. vulgaris, intr. into disturbed sites in our range, tends to have relatively broad lvs, the middle cauline ones half as wide as long, with broadly rounded base. The native var. lanceolata (Barton) Fernald, in both disturbed and natural sites, has narrower lvs, the middle cauline ones a third as wide as long, with tapering base. Some conspicuously white-hirsute plants along the s. border of our range may prove to represent the Asiatic var. hispida Benth., or may be extreme forms of var. lanceolata, which they otherwise resemble.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
Martin and Hutchins 1980, Welsh et al. 1993, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Small perennial with procumbent to ascending or erect stems 8-50 cm tall, glabrous to pubescent. Leaves: Opposite, blades petiolate, lance-ovate to oblong or elliptic, 2-7 cm long, cuneate at base, petioles 10-25 mm long. Flowers: In terminal spikes 1-2 cm across, 2-8 cm long, floral bracts sheathing, reniform to broadly ovate, calyx sparsely villous, green to purplish, 6-10 mm long, 2-lipped, tube 10-ribbed, upper lip truncate, the lower teeth subequal to tube, corolla pink purple to pink or even white, the tube exceeding the calyx, the upper lip arched, 12-18 mm long, glabrous. Fruits: Smooth ovoid nutlets. Ecology: Found in moist soils of wet meadows and streambanks from 5,000-9,500 ft (1524-2896 m); flowers June-September. Notes: The long petioles of the leaves combined with the dense terminal spikes help to identify this plant among the mints. Ethnobotany: Used for fevers, taken as a heart medicine, for neck sores, as an eyewash, for burns, chewed for sore throats, for vomiting and diarrhea, used as a blood purifier, for colds, coughs and shortness of breath, for babies that cry too much, venereal disease, for dysentery, eaten as greens, used as a potherb, and steeped in water as a tea. Etymology: Prunella comes from a German word for quinsy, a sickness this plant was used to treat, while vulgaris means common. Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley, 2010