Bristle-topped lawn plant with tiny, purple, orchid-like flowers

neil1967(5)July 13, 2014

Hi, I'm new to a property in eastern Massachusetts whose grass lawn has long since gone to native, naturalized and invasive plants. Some are lovely, like the one in the photo and I'm curious if anyone can identify it. The bumblebees seem to love it, it's growing well in shady areas, and it seems to stand between 4 and 8 inches in height. It has very small purple flowers around a bristle-like head where the individual flowers are orchid-like. Anyone know it? Thanks!

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Prunella vulgaris, self-heal.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 4:32PM
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Thanks! Does it look like spp vulgaris or spp lanceolata? I was hoping the latter (so it'd be native to NA) but think it's the latter....

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 10:57PM
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jekeesl (south-central Arkansas)(7b)

Weakley's key says that main or middle stem leaves average 3x as long as wide, and have long-tapered bases for .var lanceolata. Main or middle stem leaves average 2x as long as wide, with broadly rounded bases for var. vulgaris. We see more of the upper leaves in your photo. The lower ones do appear shorter, broader, and have more rounded bases. There's even a little understood, third variant (.var hispida) that has stems, petioles, and sometimes lower leaf surfaces densely villous-hispid. The same .var vulgaris parts are only sparingly, and not conspicuously, pilose. All of that said, your plant seems most like .var vulgaris to me.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 6:48AM
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