Stems: numerous, slender, erect or procumbent, usually simple. Leaves: thin, ovate or oblong, obtuse, entire or crenate. Flowers: in dense, bracted, terminal and axillary spikes; calyx cylindraceous, with hirsute teeth; corolla-tube inflated, bilabiate, the upper lip entire, arched, the lower lip spreading, three-lobed.

The dense purple spikes of the Prunella are very common beside alpine streams and in the grassy meadows. This plant, which was called Prunella by Linnaeus, is more significantly named Brunella, because it is supposed to contain a remedy for die Braune, or the quinsy, and hence some ancient German botanist originally called it Brunellen.

It is not an attractive flower, for its elongated spikes, covered with dark reddish bracts, have usually only a few scattered blossoms on them, and even these are insignificant.

The leaves grow in pairs up the stems, and are frequently marked with reddish patches.