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Published In: Species Plantarum 2: 580. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/25/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted

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28. Stachys L. (hedge nettle) (Mulligan and Munro, 1989)

Plants perennial herbs (annual elsewhere), often with rhizomes, sometimes also with tubers. Stems erect or ascending, bluntly to sharply 4-angled, unbranched or branched, glabrous or hairy, the hairs not felted or woolly. Leaves sessile or short- to long-petiolate, the petiole unwinged. Leaf blades variously linear to narrowly oblong or narrowly lanceolate to broadly ovate, angled to rounded or occasionally shallowly cordate at the base, angled or tapered to a usually sharply pointed tip, the margins with relatively closely spaced, fine, sharp teeth, the surfaces glabrous, roughened, or sparsely to moderately short-hairy, also with inconspicuous, sessile glands. Inflorescences terminal, spikes, composed of distinct clusters, these widely or relatively densely spaced along the axis, but noticeably discrete and with the flowers not overlapping those of adjacent nodes, or less commonly dense, more or less continuous, the flowers in small clusters of 4 or 6(8) per node (flowers 2 or 3[4] in the axil of each bract), the clusters not headlike. Bracts similar to the foliage leaves but much smaller. Bractlets absent or very short, linear, and inconspicuous. Calyces actinomorphic or nearly so, lacking a lateral projection, more or less symmetric at the base, narrowly bell-shaped, the tube 5- or 10-nerved, 5-lobed, the lobes somewhat shorter than to about as long as the tube, similar in size and shape, triangular to narrowly triangular, not spinescent, not becoming enlarged or papery at fruiting. Corollas zygomorphic, white, light pink, or pale purple, the lower lip usually with reddish purple to dark purple or whitish (in darker corollas) spots or mottling, the outer surface sparsely to moderately pubescent with short, gland-tipped hairs, especially on the lobes, the tube funnelform, relatively deeply 2-lipped, the lobes slightly shorter than the tube, the upper lip usually slightly shorter than the lower lip, entire or shallowly notched, slightly concave to more or less hooded, the lower lip spreading to arched, 3-lobed with a large central lobe and 2 small lateral lobes. Stamens 4, not exserted, the lower pair with slightly longer filaments than the upper pair, all ascending under the upper corolla lip, the anthers small, the connective very short, the pollen sacs 2, spreading, usually dark purple. Ovary deeply lobed, the style appearing nearly basal from a deep apical notch. Style exserted, more or less equally 2-branched at the tip. Fruits dry schizocarps, separating into usually 4 nutlets, these 1.5–2.5 mm long, oblong-obovoid to broadly obovoid, rounded at the tip, somewhat 3-angled, the surface dark brown to nearly black, glabrous, finely pebbled or faintly irregular. About 300 species, nearly worldwide (but absent from southeastern Asia to Austalia), most diverse in temperate or mountainous regions of the northern hemisphere.

Some species of Stachys are cultivated as ornamentals for their foliage or flowers, including the Mediterranean S. byzantina C. Koch (lamb’s ears), which has densely white-woolly leaves and dense spikes of pink flowers, and the bright red-flowered S. coccinea Ortega (Texas betony, scarlet hedge nettle), which is native to the southwestern United States and Mexico.

The Missouri species of Stachys are morphologically variable and difficult to distinguish. The present treatment has benefited greatly from an unpublished review of the genus prepared by Stacy Oglesbee, an undergraduate intern in 1991 at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

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