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

Posted by neil1967 5 (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 13, 14 at 16:15

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!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Bristle-topped lawn plant with tiny, purple, orchid-like flow

Prunella vulgaris, self-heal.

RE: Bristle-topped lawn plant with tiny, purple, orchid-like flow

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....

RE: Bristle-topped lawn plant with tiny, purple, orchid-like flow

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.

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