Hedge Woundwort, Stachys sylvatica is a tall purple spike of a flower that belong to the family Lamiaceae, commonly known as the Mint or Dead-nettle family.
It is a flower of hedgerow and woodland and grows well in shade. The flowers are arranged in whorls or rings on the upright spike. Each whorl has about six flowers and there are green leafy bracts below each ring of flowers.
The leaves are heart shaped and toothed. The plant as the name suggests has long been used in herbal medicine, mostly applied to wounds to staunch blood and close the wound, Don’t eat it, it is not internal medicine.
In the field, if you cut yourself in the right season, pick the leaves and cover the wound as you would with a plaster.
The stem is square and covered in fine hairs. The stem is solid unlike most Dead-nettles, which are hollow stemmed.
This isn’t a post about the flower. Woundwort comes with it’s own shiny, beautiful, little bug and this is a post about nature’s jewellery.
The Woundwort Shieldbug, Eysarcoris venustissimus is a small and exquisitely beautiful bug that feeds on Woundwort. It is made of platinum with rich copper insets on the back and face and tiny gemstones set around the border.
If you have woundwort growing near you then you almost certainly have these little bugs too, it is well worth having a close look.