In flowers of the Mini family, insects are Deeded to pollinate them and insure a good crop of seeds. The structure of the Bower, however, is such that a bee would have a difficult time entering the tube of the blossom without the assistance of the broad lip which is a landing place. In the hedge nettle the lower lip has become a broad, colorful stopping place. At the same time, this elongation makes the woundwort one of the most attractive of the mint flowers.
Stachys tenuifolia Willd.
June - July Moist fields.
The plant has glossy green leaves which are opposite on the square, ridged stem. The Bowers are arranged in a series of whorls around the upper pari of the stem, with a pair of small leaves in each whorl. The calyx is bristly, but not prickly as in the motherwort. The flowers are a bright, soft pink with tiny red speckles in the throat. The broad lower lip is the juncture of the three lower petals, while the arched, hooded upper pari of the Bower is made of what once may have been the other two petals. Thus the hedge nettle appears to have only two petals, but nevertheless is a mint. Mints are traditionally known to have five corolla divisions even though, as in this case, they may be fused as two or three.
Hedge nettle grows today in low, wet places in sun or shade, along railroad tracks and roadside ditches, during most of the summer. One variety of hedge nettle long ago in Europe was given the name woundwort because its powdered leave- often were used in surgical dressings to hind up wound-.