Swamp Hedge-Nettle
Stachys palustris L. 
 ssp. pilosa (Nutt.) Epling.

The Swamp Hedge-Nettle has a strong, rank odor.  A perennial herb 8 to 24 inches tall, with simple or branched, evidently hairy throughout, often glandular.  The 4-sided stem has with long coarse, spreading or somewhat retrose hairs along the angles. and shorter, more slender hairs along the sides. The leaves are short-petaled with the the lower leaves small and deciduous. The flowers are widely funnel shaped with a concave upper lip and flared upper lip,  lavender, spotted and streaked with purple and white.  It bears dark brown nutlets, about 116 inch long, in clusters of 4. The Swamp Hedge-Nettle blooms from June to July. Located in marshes, wet meadows, ditches, shores, stream banks, and other wet or moist places. Common in the Intermountain area.

Food Uses:  
All young shoots, rootstalks, flowers, and seeds are all edible. The young shoots, despite their smell, were cooked as a vegetable. The rootstalks, collected in autumn, were dried and ground for use in breads.  They were also eaten raw, pickled, boiled, or baked.  

Medical Uses:  
Medicinal teas made from plants are used for treating migraine headaches, sprains, inflamed joints, and inflammations of the bladder. 
The plant has been highly valued for its wound-healing activity, being effective against both internal and external bleeding. The leaves and roots have been used in poultices to reduce pain and swelling of sprains, joints, and headaches. The herb is harvested in the summer when just coming into flower and can be dried for later use.

Divide in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. It is best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.


Return to main plant page