Prunella vulgaris L.
self-heal (common selfheal)
Lamiaceae (Mint family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Ian Gardiner     (Photo ID #29197)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Prunella vulgaris
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Perennial herb from an enlarged stem-base or short rhizome, fibrous-rooted; stems solitary or clustered, erect to spreading or reclining, 10-50 cm long, short-hairy to glabrous, 4-angled.
All stem leaves or some basal; opposite, lanceolate or elliptic to broadly egg-shaped, 2-7 cm long, 0.7-4 cm wide, entire or obscurely toothed, glabrous or lightly hairy; stalks 5-30 mm long; lower leaves often broader with more rounded base than upper.
Inflorescence of many flowers in dense terminal spikes, 2-5 cm long, about 1.5-2 cm wide, usually subtended by upper leaves; bracts kidney- to egg-shaped, about 1 cm long, reddish, tips pointed, margins hairy; corollas tubular, blue-violet or occasionally pink or white, 10-15 mm long in bisexual flowers, 8-11 mm long in pistillate flowers, fine-hairy inside, 2-lipped, the upper lip hood-like and entire, the lower lip 3-lobed with broad middle lobe; calyces dark green to purplish, 7-10 mm long, 2-lipped, lips longer than tube, the upper lip squared-off and with 3 short awns, the lower lip with 2 lanceolate spine-tipped teeth.
Nutlets, 4 clustered together, egg-shaped, smooth.
Two subspecies occur in BC:

1. Principal stem leaves egg-shaped to oblong (averaging half as broad as long), broadly wedge-shaped or rounded at base.................... ssp. vulgaris

1. Principal stem leaves lanceolate to egg-shaped (averaging one-third as broad as long), narrowly wedge- shaped to abruptly pointed at base.................. ssp. lanceolata (Bart.) Hult.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Summer
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Green
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA


Ecological Framework for Prunella vulgaris

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
600 1 1756
Slope Gradient (%)
13 0 93

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

163 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 0 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

BG(1), CDF(11), CWH(80), ESSF(8), ICH(64), IDF(34), MH(1), MS(13), SBPS(3), SBS(30)

Habitat and Range

Mesic to dry roadsides, waste places, lawns, fields and open forests in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; common throughout BC, S of 57degreeN; ssp. lanceolata - N to AK, E to NF and S to NC, KA, NM and CA, ssp. vulgaris - introduced from Eurasia.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Prunella caroliniana P. Mill.
Prunella vulgaris var. elongata Benth.
Prunella vulgaris var. lanceolata (W. Bartram) Fernald
Prunella vulgaris var. vulgaris L. [superfluous autonym]