€2,50 – €11,00
Quite tall perennial with pink-purple flowers intended for humid places. Formerly it was believed that the purple betony scares away evil spirits and misfortunes. It is also a spice and medicinal plant. Wild, non-cultivar seeds.
Polish name: common beech-leaves, medical beech-leaves, red beech-leaves, medical cleansing herb, betonnie, bishop’s wort
Latin name: Betonica officinalis L.
Family: the mints Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Status in Poland: native, moderately common, unprotected
Medium or large (30-90 cm) perennial plant, hemicryptophyte with upright, quadrangular, sparse-foliaged shoots, and pectinate pink or amaranth flowers.
Roots numerous, fine. The short woody rhizome produces a lot of roots and a rosette of basal leaves.
Stem with a characteristic, quadrangular cross-section, erect, ciliated, usually single, with a few leaves and branches.
Two types of leaves: basal and stem. The basal ones are characterized by long petioles. Whereas, the stem ones are sessile or short-petioled.
Flowers pectinate, bisexual, pink or purple, divided into a calyx and a corolla, gathered in a panicle or quasi-spike, form from June to September. A bell-shaped calyx with flat, winged lobes. The flower corolla is bare inside and hairy outside with the stellate hairs.
The fruit of the purple betony (common hedgenettle) is a quadruple schizocarp. The seeds of the orthodox type only, with TSW 11.4 g.
It grows well both in partial shade and strong sun, in an ordinary or warm microclimate. It tolerates periodic flooding.
It will even grow in dry ground, although it prefers fresh or wet, clay, heavy, rich in calcium and humus soils. It prefers a reaction close to neutral, slightly acidic or slightly alkaline.
Purple betony is planted in naturalistic gardens, near ponds, and on bee pastures. It is sometimes cultivated, as harvesting from wild populations does not always meet the demand of the herbal industry.
The Romans, Celts and other peoples considered purple betony as an amulet against witchcraft, possession, nightmares. In the Middle Ages, it was sown in cemeteries and near churches to scare away evil spirits. It was also supposed to save from the plague air.
In Italy, it is said to this day that when you have a serious problem, sell your clothes and buy yourself a lot of betony herb.
In Old Polish cuisine purple betony was one of the most important and cheaper (because native) spices. It significantly alleviates heartburn and prevents diarrhea. Nowadays, it is still used in academic medicine, even against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Very good, as in the case of many other mints (Lamiaceae).
Valued as a component of bee pastures in areas that are temporarily flooded or slightly wet.