This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
This is a recent species, in the absence of ancient records, found in the North Temperate Zone to-day, in Europe generally except in Russia, and in N. Africa. In Great Britain it grows everywhere except in Middlesex, and in the Shetlands, ranging as far north as the Orkneys. It is found in Northumberland at a height of 1500 ft. It grows in Ireland and the Channel Islands.
Wood Sage is a common woodland plant growing on slopes in woods, copses, always in natural woodland, where the ground is stony. It is found in the same districts growing more in the open under hedges. It is also found on heaths and commons at lower elevations.
The stem is erect, square, herbaceous, often consisting of more than one, purplish, hairy. The leaves are heart-shaped, stalked, oblong, scalloped, distant, paired, veined, and wrinkled. The whole plant has a stiff or rigid habit. The leaves are mealy and' glandular below.
The flowers are borne in one-sided racemes, and are yellowish, straw-coloured, turned to one side, one terminal longer than the other racemes. The calyx is swollen below (the lip may be absent), egg-shaped, erect, entire, 5-lobed. The lower lip has 4 teeth. The bracts or leaflike organs are egg-shaped, and end in a long point. The tube of the corolla is projecting, gaping, the upper lip deeply divided. The lip is divided into 3 nearly to the base. The nutlets (4) are blackish, shining, in the base of the calyx.
Wood Sage is about 18 in. high at most. The flowers bloom in July. The plant is perennial, propagated by cuttings.
The flowers are proterandrous, the anthers maturing first. When the flower expands the stigma is not touched by an insect visiting the flower, as it lies behind the stamens, which are projecting, and lie close to the upper wall of the tube, afterwards bending slightly upwards, and the stigma takes their place. The lobes of the style are already spreading. The anthers open inferiorly by a longitudinal slit and shower the pollen on the bee's head. The stamens afterwards bend back, so that bees do not touch the anthers, and the 2 stigmas move forward into the former place and become more spreading. If insects do not visit the flower it is seldom self-pollinated, but insect visits are frequent, though the flowers are not large, but strong- or sweet-scented. In bending backwards the anthers may touch the stigmas. The honey lies in the tissue at the base of the ovary, and fills the tube, which is 9-10 mm. long, to a height of 4 mm. Wood Sage is visited by Bombus, Anthophora, Saropoda, and Eristalis.
Photo. Flatters & Garnett - Wood Sage (teucrium Scorodonia, L.)
When the lower flowers have reached the female condition those above are still male. Thus a bee first visiting male flowers carries the pollen away to a second plant.
The nutlets, as in other Labiates, are free, and when ripe fall out to the ground.
Wood Sage is a rock plant growing on rock soil, or a sand-lover and addicted to a sand soil. It is common on granitic, schistose, and slate rocks.
The leaves are attacked by a fungus Puccinia annularis.
Beetles have a predilection for Wood Sage, e.g. Apion rubens, Meli-gethes bidens, M. obscurus, Byrrhus pilule, Longitarsus pulex, L. distin guendus, L. membranaceus, Aphthona abratula, a butterfly, Melittis ar-temis, a moth, Ebulia verbascalis, and several Homoptera, Tettigometra impressopunctata, Thamnotettix cruentata, Eupteryx stachydearum.