WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

Usually less that 12-inches tall with short spikes of small but showy purple, pink, or white flowers, this plant can reach 2 feet tall. Note the flower’s enlarged lower lip is fringe lined. All members of the Mint family have square stems.


FLOWER: April–September. The 3/4-inch long (19 mm), bilaterally symmetrical flowers bloom in clusters around an upright, cylindrical spike. At the base of each flower are small leaf-like, purple-tinged bracts with hairy margins. The upper flower lip is purple, hood-like, and unlobed. The lower lip has 3 whitish lobes. The longer center lobe droops with a fine fringe along the margin.


LEAVES: Opposite. Blades elliptic to lance-shaped, to 3 inches long (7.5 cm), 1 1/2-inches wide (3.8 cm); margins mostly entire, tapering to a point.


HABITAT: Moist sandy, gravelly, loamy soils, steam sides, meadows; pinyon-juniper, ponderosa-fir, aspen-spruce forests.


ELEVATION: 5,000–11,000 feet.


RANGE: Throughout U. S. though rare in Great Plains.


SIMILAR SPECIES: The square stem, distinct flowers with fringed lower lip, and hairy bracts distinguish this species.


NM COUNTIES: Nearly statewide in mid- to high-elevation, moist habitats: Bernalillo, Catron, Cibola, Colfax, Grant, Lincoln, Los Alamos, McKinley, Mora, Otero, Rio Arriba, San Juan, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Sierra, Socorro, Quay, Taos, Torrance, Valencia.


NOTES: Self-heal allegedly has many traditional medicinal uses including a poultice for wounds, mouthwash for sore throat and gums, tea for colds, a disinfectant wash for cuts, and has been eaten as a pot herb.

SELF-HEAL

PRUNELLA  VULGARIS

Mint Family, Lamiaceae

Perennial herb

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• Upper lip is hooded over stamens (upper left arrow)

• Bracts have hairy edges (upper right arrow)

• Fringed lower lip (lower arrow)

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