Prunella vulgaris subsp. lanceolata (Common Self Heal, ETC.)

Prunella vulgaris subsp. lanceolata (Common Self-Heal) on 7-28-19, #607-11.

Heal-All, Common Self-Heal, Woundwort, Heart-of-the-Earth, Carpenter’s Herb, Brownwort, and Blue Curls

Prunella vulgaris

(Prunella vulgaris subsp. lanceolata)

proo-NELL-uh  vul-GAIR-iss

Synonyms of Prunella vulgaris subsp. lanceolata (20) (Updated on 11-30-21 from Plants of the World Online): Prunella canadensis Mill., Prunella caroliniana Mill., Prunella laciniata Walter, Prunella parviflora Gilib., Prunella pennsylvanica var. lanceolata W.P.C.Barton, Prunella vulgaris f. alba J.C.Nelson, Prunella vulgaris f. albiflora Britton, Prunella vulgaris f. albiflora Nakai, Prunella vulgaris f. candida Fernald, Prunella vulgaris var. candida Farw., Prunella vulgaris var. elongata Benth., Prunella vulgaris f. erubescens J.K.Henry, Prunella vulgaris f. iodocalyx Fernald, Prunella vulgaris var. iodocalyx Farw., Prunella vulgaris var. lanceolata (W.P.C.Barton) Fernald, Prunella vulgaris var. major Hook., Prunella vulgaris f. nana Clute, Prunella vulgaris var. parviflora J.W.Moore, Prunella vulgaris var. rouleauiana Vict., Prunella vulgaris var. scaberrima Pollard & C.R.Ball

Prunella vulgaris L. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this plant. The genus and species were named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the second edition of the first volume of Species Plantarum in 1753.

Accepted infraspecific names (5) (updated on 11-30-21): Prunella vulgaris subsp. asiatica (Nakai) H.Hara, Prunella vulgaris subsp. estremadurensis Franco, Prunella vulgaris subsp. hispida (Benth.) Hultén, Prunella vulgaris subsp. lanceolata (W.P.C.Barton) Piper & BeattiePrunella vulgaris subsp. vulgaris (autonym)When infraspecific taxon are named, a “type-specimen” is automatically generated (autonym) whose description is closest to the (original) species. I am not sure how the species and autonyms can have different synonyms…

Prunella vulgaris subsp. lanceolata (W.P.C.Barton) Piper & Beattie is the correct and accepted scientific name for the subspecies observed on my farm. It was named and described as such by Charles Vancouver Piper and Rolla Kent Beattie in Flora of the Northwest Coast in 1915. It was first named Prunella pensylvanica var. lanceolata by William Paul Crillon Barton in Florae Philadelphicae Prodromus in 1815.

As of 11-30-21 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 8 species in the Prunella genus. The genus is a member of the plant family Lamiaceae with a total of 233 genera. Those numbers may change periodically as updates are made on POWO.

Distribution map of Prunella vulgaris from Plants of the World Online. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved on March 29, 2020.

The above distribution map for Prunella vulgaris is from Plants of the World Online is for the species and all the subspecies. Areas in green are where the species is native and purple where it has been introduced. Prunella vulgaris subsp. lanceolata is the only subspecies native to the U.S. and is the one most commonly observed in Missouri. The map on the USDA Plants Database for the United States and Canada is basically the same

The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations. The maps on iNaturalist are continually updated as members post new observations.


Prunella vulgaris subsp. lanceolata (Common Self-Heal) on 7-28-19, #607-13.

2019 was a great year for identifying new wildflower species on the farm. I first spotted the Prunella vulgaris in the southeast corner of the farm near the swampy area. Later I spotted quite a few growing along the back fence and near the pond. I sold the cows earlier in the year and I think they had been eating several wildflower species since I hadn’t noticed them before.

To be quite honest with you, I wrote the descriptions for this page on March 17, 2021. Updating this site and writing wildflower descriptions is my winter project and I am always trying to get caught up.

Prunella vulgaris subsp. lanceolata (Common Self-Heal) on 7-28-19, #607-15.

The Prunella vulgaris is a short perennial wildflower that grows to around a foot tall. Even plants that have been mowed off will flower. I noticed shorter plants flowering along the fence in the back pasture and taller plants among tall grass and other wildflowers in the southeast corner of the farm close to the swampy area.

I took a lot of photos of several plants, leaves, stems, and flowers, but a lot of them were too blurry. It was kind of windy and it just didn’t work out. The above photo obviously shows the underside of a leaf. You can’t really tell, but there are hairs growing along the midrib (midvein).

Prunella vulgaris subsp. lanceolata (Common Self-Heal) on 7-28-19, #607-16.

Prunella vulgaris has hairy square stems that sometimes branch at the base. The hairs are found mostly along the angles and at the nodes. The stems may also be mostly hairless.

The leaves grow in an opposite manner along the stems and grow up to 2” long by 3/4” wide. The lower leaves have fairly long petioles, while the petioles on the upper leaves are shorter and maybe somewhat winged. The leaves are lanceolate to oblong-ovate and are rounded or tapered at the base. The leaf tips can be angled with rounded or pointed. The leaf margins are usually wavy with fine or irregular blunt teeth. The leaves can be hairless or have fine hairs.

Prunella vulgaris subsp. lanceolata (Common Self-Heal) on 7-29-19, #608-37.

The description of the inflorescence on Missouri Plants is QUITE lengthy and you can read it by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page… All I know is that the inflorescence is very interesting and very hard to explain… I will attempt to describe it in layman’s terms so even I can understand it… The plant’s stems terminate with a weird inflorescence with several nodes with a pair of leaf-like bracts. These bracts encircle 6 flowers… So, there are six flowers per node. I need to get a closer look at the flowers and these nodes to have a better understanding of what I just said. I may have to take one apart…

Prunella vulgaris subsp. lanceolata (Common Self-Heal) on 7-29-19, #608-38.

One odd thing is how this species blooms… They don’t bloom from the top up or the bottom down along the inflorescence. They just have a few flowers here and there and never more than a few at a time. But that is not the only interesting thing about this species…

Prunella vulgaris subsp. lanceolata (Common Self-Heal) on 7-29-19, #608-39.

The broad hooded upper lip of this subspecies can vary in shade from a bluish color to light purple…

Prunella vulgaris subsp. lanceolata (Common Self-Heal) on 7-29-19, #608-40.

In layman’s terms, the neat flowers have two lips. The broad upper lip can be bluish to light purple and supposedly have 3 shallow triangular lobes. The lower lip has three lobes, the one in the center is sort of fringed with hair. I got lost somewhere after I read the tubes have 10 nerves… The flowers have no scent and the blooming period is from May through September.

Prunella vulgaris subsp. lanceolata (Common Self-Heal) on 7-29-19, #608-41.

The Prunella vulgaris grows in full sun to part shade and prefers damp, rich, loamy soil with plenty of organic matter in a variety of habitats. None here on the farm grow in full sun, more like part-shade and areas where the sun shines through the leaves of trees. The taller plants are in low areas. Plants have short taproots and are slightly rhizomatous.

Prunella vulgaris subsp. lanceolata (Common Self-Heal) on 7-29-19, #608-42.

I found this small colony close to the pond in the back pasture close to a HUGE colony of Commelina erecta.

Prunella vulgaris subsp. lanceolata (Common Self-Heal) on 7-29-19, #608-43.

This plant above has multiple branches from the base and even at the midpoint along the stem.

Prunella vulgaris subsp. lanceolata (Common Self-Heal) on 9-7-19, #625-22.

On September 9 in 2019 I noticed the plants near the back pond had gone to seed…

Prunella vulgaris subsp. lanceolata (Common Self-Heal) on 9-7-19, #625-23.

The flowers are replaced by a pine-cone-looking cluster of dried calyces. Each flower produces 4 seeds that are strangely dispersed by raindrops… When a raindrop hits the calyces they bend down and when they rebound, the seeds fly out… How weird is that?


Prunella vulgaris subsp. lanceolata (Common Self-Heal) on 9-20-20, #744-20.

Wikipedia says this plant is edible and can be used in salads, soups, stews, and as a potherb. It can also be used as a tea. The plant is considered by the Chinese to “change the course of a chronic disease”. The plant contains vitamins A, C, and K, as well as flavonoids, rutin, and many other chemical constituents.

I didn’t take any photos of the Prunella vulgaris in 2021. The goal for 2022 is to get better close-ups, better photos of the leaves and stems that aren’t blurry, and to dissect an inflorescence. 🙂 I have to figure out how there can be 6 flowers per pair of calyces on such a small but very strange inflorescence.

I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. My farm is in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and most have pages listed on the right side of the blog. I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a horticulturalist I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.

I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky. There are many great sources of information online besides the ones below. If you found a site you liked you would like to share, please let me know and I will add it to the list.


NOTE: The data (figures, maps, accepted names, etc.) may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates. Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. Some of the links may use a name that is a synonym on other sites. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates “at least” once a year and when I write new pages or add new photos but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂


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