Rigid Hedge Nettle

Rigid Hedge Nettle © DSchiel

Rough Hedge Nettle, Woodmint
Stachys rigida var. rigida
NATIVE

Description (Jepson, PlantID.net)

    • Eudicotyledon
      • Eudicots are a major lineage of flowering plants; see family for general characteristics
    • Mint Family (Laminaceae)
    • Perennial upright herb
    • Whole plant can be hairy and glandular (sticky)
    • Stems are square in cross-section
    • Leaves
      • Opposite (2 leaves at each junction with stem)
      • Rounded shape (ovate to lanceolate) with toothed margins
      • Leaf venation is prominent on upper surface, appearing cobbled
    • Flowers
      • Inflorescence (flower arrangement) is spike-like, with flower clusters arranged in whorls (3 or more flowers at each junction with stem) at the leaf axils (branching points)
      • Bilaterally-symmetric flowers with 5 fused petals, in 2 distinct lips
        • Rounded upper lip of 2 fused, pink petals
        • Large, lower lip of 3 fused petals, pale pink-purple, with darker dots and lines
      • Ovary superior (attached above other flower parts)
    • Height to 16 in.

    Distribution

      • Native to California
        • Grows in shady, dry places in the understory of oak woodlands
        • See Calflora for statewide observations of this plant
      • Outside California, grows in Washington, Oregon, and Nevada
      • Grows at elevations to 7,670 ft.

      Uses (Picking or removing any natural material from public land is illegal)

        • Source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds
        • Native people made a tea from the leaves to treat headaches and sore throats

        Name Derivation

          • Stachys (STAY-kis) – from the Greek stachus, “ear of grain” or “a spike,” referring to the spike-like arrangement of the flowers
          • rigida (RIJ-i-da) – from the Latin for “rigid,” referring to the stiff leaves or hairs
          • Hedge nettle – refers to the resemblance of the leaves to those of stinging nettles (Urtica species) in the Nettle family
          • Woodmint – used for several members of the genus Stachys, most commonly California hedge nettle (S. bullata), which does not grow at Edgewood

          Notes

            • Unlike most members of the Mint family, rigid hedge nettle is not aromatic
            • The genus Stachys includes the common, non-native garden plants lamb’s ears (S. byzantina) and big betony (S. macrantha)
            • Edgewood’s rigid hedge nettle is classified as a variety
              • Subspecies rank is used to recognize geographic distinctiveness, whereas variety rank is appropriate for variants seen throughout the geographic range of the species; in practice, these two ranks are not distinct

            ID Tips

              • May be confused with short-spiked hedge nettle (S. pycnantha)
              Rigid Hedge NettleShort-spiked Hedge Nettle
              Growth Habit≤ 16 in.≤ 20 in. 
              Stemsgreengreen
              Leavesrounded (ovate to lanceolate)

              toothed

              ≤ 2 in.
              generally lanceolate

              finely toothed

              ≤ 5 in.
              Flowersin whorls at intervals (like a pagoda)in stout, tIghtly clustered whorls
              Habitatcommon in oak woodlandsuncommon trailside; in seeps along Clarkia trail 
              Ridge Hedge Nettle (L), Short-spiked Hedge Nettle (R) © DSchiel
              • When not blooming, may be confused with emerging bee plant (Scrophularia californica), which has similar leaves
                • Rigid hedge nettle
                  • Leaves are rounded (ovate to lanceolate)
                  • Leaf stems are green
                • Bee plant
                  • Leaves are triangular
                  • Leaf stems are purplish-red, maturing to green

              At Edgewood

                • Found in woodlands and grasslands
                  • See iNaturalist for observations of this plant
                    • Note observations are for Stachys rigida
                • Flowers April – May

                See General References