HEDGE WOUNDWORT (Stachys sylvatica)

Europe, Asia

Bumblebee on Hedge Woundwort

Hedge woundwort 04











Hedge Woundwort is a member of the mint family, a perennial herb whose BURGUNDY & WHITE blooms perch like small orchids on long square stems. Underground rhizomes of Stachys sylvatica work to spread the plant through shady woodlands, hedges & waste ground, where it can grow to a height of 12 to 40 inches.

In gardens it mixes well with other shade-loving wildflowers, & its plantlets when small can be easily pulled up & replanted elsewhere. Cutting some stems back by half may prolong the plant’s season.


Bee’s Favourite.

Hedge Woundwort is irresistable to small bees and other insects, who visit it steadily throughout its long flowering season. Caterpillars of two moths, the Emperor Hawkmoth & the Small Elephant Hawkmoth, feed on its leaves; slugs & snails leave it alone.

Hedge Woundwort seedsHedge WoundwortHedge Woundwort

Hedge Woundwort closeup








Hedge Woundwort is a prolific maker of seeds. Green tufts are left all along its stems once its flowers are done, with shiny black seeds nestling in each tuft. We leave some of these decorative stems standing so birds can have the seeds. The many offspring of our first Stachys sylvatica, which came from an Ecology Centre wildflower sale, reappear each spring. They give the garden the feeling of a woodland glade.


Other names: Betony, Common Hedge Nettle, Dead Nettle, Grass Nettle, Heal-all, Lamb’s ears, Red Archangel, Self-heal, Whitespot, Wood betony, Woundwort.

hedge woundwort with bumblebee, alkanet, wargrave pink, sharpen

Hedge Woundwort

A MODERN HERBAL by Mrs. M. Grieve, dating from the early 1900’s, lists some of the properties for which Hedge Woundwort was named:

the distilled water of the flowers is used to make the heart merry, to make a good colour in the face, and to make the vitall spirits more fresh and livelyit has also been classed among the Woundworts good for stanching blood.’

Mrs Grieves reports that “An old authority tells us that this herb ‘stamped with vinegar and applied in manner of a pultis, taketh away wens and hard swellings, and inflammation of the kernels under the eares and jawes.’”




Woundwort Shieldbug instar on Alkanet leaf (underside)

Hedge Woundwort Instar on garden hose Woundwort Instars on Hedge Woundwort leaf
Hedge Woundwort has its own Shieldbug, the Woundwort Shieldbug. The little instars go through four stages before becoming adults.

Illustrations of UK Shieldbugs and their instars by Ashley Wood, available from: