A very large family of herbs having, usually, square stems, strong scented foliage and small tubular flowers conspicuously situated in spikes or from the leaf axils. The flowers usually have two-lobed or entire upper lips and three-lobed lower. They all bear honey and are nearly all dependent upon members of the bee family for cross-fertilization.
A. Self-heal. Prunella vulgaris.
B. Skullcap. Scutellaria intergrifolia.
Self-Heal; Heal-All (Prunella Vulgaris) is one of the commonest and most widely distributed members of the mint family. Along roadsides, in fields and on the borders of woods, everywhere throughout the country, we will find this familiar flower. The stem grows from 6 to 15 inches high and is topped with a cylindrical flower head, composed of many, two-lipped, tubular, purple florets. But few of these bloom at a time commencing at the bottom, and the flowering season extends from June to September. The leaves are sparingly toothed and seated oppositely on long stems. Usually several leaflets appear from their axils and sometimes smaller flower heads from the axils of the upper ones. It is frequented most often by bees, in fact it is often known as the "bee flower."
Skullcap (Scutellaria Integrifolia) is one of the handsomest of the Skullcaps, the tubular, two-lipped flowers in the loose terminal spike, each measuring about one inch in length. The downy stem rises from 6 to 24 inches high and is set oppositely with toothless, lance-shaped, round-ended leaves. It is found in dry ground from Mass. to Fla. and along the Gulf.
Bugleweed (Lycopus Virginicus) is similar in general form to the last; the leaves are coarsely toothed. The tiny, white, tubular flowers are in small clusters in the axils of the leaves. A slight, fancied, bugle-shape to the corolla form the basis for its common name.
A. Ground Ivy; Gill-over-the-Ground.
B. Catnip. Nepeta Cataria.
Ground Ivy; Gill-Over-The-Ground (Nep-Eta Hederacea) (European) is a beautiful little trailing mint that grows very profusely about country houses, where it has escaped at some time from cultivation. It is very inconspicuous and lowly in its habits, so that it is very apt to escape notice even when it is in flower. Its stems are weak and procumbent; it frequently strikes root from the stem at the angles of the leaves so that it may trail over the ground for a long distance from the parent root. The upright flowering stems, given off from this creeping one, rarely exceed eight inches in height.
The leaves rise from the stem in pairs; they are round, with a heart-shaped bases, the edge cut into rounded lobes, and their whole surface is downy and veiny. The pretty little purple flowers grow in small clusters from the axils of the leaves. The upper lip is erect and slightly notched; the lower one has three spreading lobes and is spotted with dark purple.
Depending upon the amount of light and moisture received, the stems and leaves vary greatly in color from green to a purplish-red. Ground ivy is found in blossom from May to July throughout the eastern half of our country.