Can You Identify This?

Paula Englert
by Paula Englert
It is in the mint family because it has square stems. The leaves have no fragrance and a slightly sour taste. I don't know if it is something I planted years ago and it just came up or it is a weed. It is taking up a lot of room in my small garden. Thanks for any help!
I don't know if it is a weed or something useful.
  23 answers
  • EJ Reece EJ Reece on Jul 09, 2013
  • Paula Englert Paula Englert on Jul 09, 2013
    It is definitely not lavender. This has no scent. I grow lavender and know this is not it.
  • Gwen Gwen on Jul 09, 2013
    Looks like a basil...
  • Paula Englert Paula Englert on Jul 09, 2013
    Add to this post...Not basil. I grow that, too. It is nothing aromatic- the leaves have no scent. Thanks for trying.
  • Peg Peg on Jul 10, 2013
    looks like a low growing ground cover type plant called "heal all", it was one of the first plants I identified when I moved up here and got to make good use of my plant identification books. It has medicinal properties but it's a weed to me.
  • KrysFL KrysFL on Jul 10, 2013
    It kinda looks like a variety of Bugleweed.
  • Stella Chavez Stella Chavez on Jul 10, 2013
    I have that too & as much as I pull it out, it keeps coming back.
  • Erin G Erin G on Jul 10, 2013
    I have that, it's a type of stinging nettle -- those centers are the nasty part! I get SO itchy if I touch them without gloves!
  • Peg Peg on Jul 11, 2013
    Erin G, the leaves of nettle plants, just about all varieties are toothed. They grow erect opposed to the plant above that clings to the ground. I hear ya on the sting and itch the stinging nettle can give though!! Dang!
  • NancyLee NancyLee on Jul 11, 2013
    It is Self heal (All Heal, Carpenter's Weed)- Prunella vulgaris. One of my favorite herbs for healing bumps, bruises, and all sorts of external injuries. I make an infused oil with it and then use that oil with an infused comfrey oil - add some beeswax and put it in a lip balm or deodorant container and call it "Marmo's First Aid Stick" - great for the first aid kit for gardeners. I used it fresh from my brother's farm in Virginia a couple of years ago but couldn't find it in South Florida. So I've used the dry herb since then - it works well too. Now I'm here in Oregona and was so excited to find that the "herb lady" at our local Grower's Market had the plants to sell! Now it's planted in the "way back" of my yard under some trees where she promises it will grow well. And yes, it is a member of the mint family! Enjoy it. Make some good medicine! (You could also make some tincture and/or linament and use it that way). There is a type of "nettle" (same in name only) that somewhat resembles it - found it in my new yard this spring and got all excited thinking it was self heal. It is another member of the mint family and is not related to the stinging nettle. It too has medicinal properties and I made a nice tincture of it, just because I could! And who know - it may come in handy in the future! Can you tell that I love herbs? Here's the blurb from my herb balm informational sheet: "Self heal (Prunella vulgaris) Self Heal’s antiseptic and astringent qualities, make it a great herbal preparation to keep in your first aid kit. Also called “Carpenter’s Herb or weed” Self heal may be useful for treating any sort of carpenter-type injuries such as bumps, blows, bruises, cuts, sprains, strains and scrapes." There are other uses - I just haven't used them (but will, I'm sure, once my patch gets established) From wikipedia: Prunella vulgaris (known as common self-heal or heal-all)[1] is an herbaceous plant in the genus Prunella.Self-heal is edible: the young leaves and stems can be eaten raw in salads; the whole plant can be boiled and eaten as a potherb; and the aerial parts of the plant can be powdered and brewed in a cold infusion to make a tasty[citation needed] beverage.Medicinally, the whole plant is poulticed onto wounds to promote healing. A mouthwash made from an infusion of the whole plant can be used to treat sore throats, thrushand gum infections. Internally, a tea can be used to treat diarrhea and internal bleeding.
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  • NancyLee NancyLee on Jul 11, 2013
    Purple dead nettles - LAMIUM PURPUREUM - lots of uses for this plant too.
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  • Phyl Phyl on Jul 11, 2013
    This looks like heal-all, a wildflower. It grows here in TN.
  • Helen Helen on Jul 11, 2013
    yes, heal all
  • Peggy Comer Peggy Comer on Jul 11, 2013
    If it smells like licorice, it is Thai Basil. Google it.
  • Peggy Comer Peggy Comer on Jul 11, 2013
    Thai basil or 'ho-ra-pa' is different than the sweet basil or Italian basil in supermarket. It has smaller leaves with purple stems. It is available at oriental grocery stores and farmers markets. If you can get some seeds, it is very easy to grow. Choose a sunny spot, you will have you Thai basil all summer along. Pick often to encourage growth. I often get hora-pa mixed with gra-pow, holy basil. My mom taught me how to remember which is which by noticing the hair on the leaves and branches. The one without the hair is hora- pa and the one with hair is 'gra-pow'
  • Marlene Wilson Marlene Wilson on Jul 11, 2013
    I sure hope you figure this out cause we have it in W.Va.too.
  • Marlene Wilson Marlene Wilson on Jul 11, 2013
    How do you make infused oil?
  • NancyLee NancyLee on Jul 12, 2013
    Marlene - there are a number of ways to infuse oils. I use the "long time" method because, well, just because! I fill a quart jar with herbal material (really pack it in to make sure you get the highest quality oil). Then add oil - I like grapeseed and/or sunflower. But olive oil is nice and if you are using the final product on the skin, a little bit of apricot kernel oil is nice too. Put the jars in a warm place for 4-6 weeks, shaking them every day. When I lived in South Florida, I put them in the garage - it was hot all the time. Here in Oregon I put them in a cooler with a seedling warmer (those electric heating pads for seed starting). There are lots of different ways to gently heat them - this is low heat for a long time. After they are done, strain through cheesecloth or muslin and label final product (Label with type of herb, oil and date it was strained-you'll forget what it is if you don't label). I also add a few drops of Vit E oil as a preservative. I used to refrigerate them but don't now. They last quite a long time. I've made balms with oils that are a year old. It's easier to start with dried herbs - no problems with mold. If you use fresh herbs, let them wilt for a day or two before preparing oil. Then cover jar with porous cover such as paper towel to let the water evaporate. I've only used Self Heal fresh - didn't have a problem. I just changed the cover every day and of course, had to stir the oil rather than shaking it. After a couple of weeks I just added a regular cover. (Use the lids and screw tops rather than plastic tops - the oil will seep out more easily when you shake it with the plastic tops. Either way, expect that oil will coat the outside of the jar no matter how hard you try and avoid it! heheheheh......that's another reason to keep the jars confined in a cooler where the oil can't damage anything. Just some hints: 1. if you pack the jar full, use a knife to move the herb around and get the oil absorbed - make sure the herb is covered with oil so mold doesn't form at the top. Usually I cap it lightly and go back and check an hour or so later to see if the oil needs to be topped off. 2. When you strain it, you won't get all the oil out - too hard on the hands. And I don't like using my tincture press because it gets all greasy. So I just squeeze as much as I can, then throw the whole mess away. I use cheese cloth for oils, or thin cotton. But I don't save it, too difficult to clean for me. It's easy, easy, easy. You can use smaller jars if you only want a little. Use high quality herbs only - you might pay a little more but they'll last a long time and make a superior product. I infuse dried arnica (the whole plant+flowers), calendula flowers, chamomile, rose, meadowsweet, comfrey and self heal (dried and fresh) on a regular basis, using them in my baby balm, healing muscle balm and first aid stick. All separate - then I mix when making the balms. You can use the oils straight without making anything with them. You can use so many different herbs, depending upon your individual needs or what friends and family may ask for. Hope this helps. I'm a late comer to the herbal healing world (started when dentist wanted to scale my gums and apply antibiotics for gingivitis - herbs healed my teeth without the antibiotics and I've never looked back. I opened up a whole new world for me. And it's fun.) I apologize if this is too much information! Maybe I'll make up a little photo essay guide! So I went and made up a couple more jars - this time self heal and plantain so I could take pictures and show you a little bit more.
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  • Carol Carol on Jul 16, 2013
    Grows here in Oregon wild also. I always thought it was a type of clover or weed growing up. I was told a few yrs ago it was the "Heals all". It does grow like a weed here though as do so many wild flowers.
  • Paula Englert Paula Englert on Jul 16, 2013
    Thanks to all who have given their opinions. I think it is "Heal All". I don't remember planting it but that's all right. I like Nancy Lee's idea of making infused oil with it.
  • Melissa K Melissa K on Jul 18, 2013
    Whatever it is, it has overtaken many parts of my yard!!
  • Pat aka Queen of Thrift Pat aka Queen of Thrift on Jul 27, 2013
    I have one growing in one of my flower beds. I was wondering what it is. I don't want it to take over, but not sure if I want to dig it and toss it.
  • NancyLee NancyLee on Jul 28, 2013
    Paula - you probably didn't plant it! It just sprung up for you! Maybe you'll need it for medicine someday. If you don't feel like making the oil with it, you can just chop up the leaves and flowers - stuff them in a canning jar - fill the jar to the top with everclear! Shake it when you see it - let it sit at least 6 weeks - then drain off the plant matter. Or don't drain it. I've got tinctures I haven't strained the plant stuff out of yet (after a year).... Viola! You have Self-Heal tincture! Just put it away for the day you need it. Well, first label it or you'll forget what it is. Put the name, where you got it (Paula's backyard) and the date. (This is the "folk method" of making an herbal tincture - not so scientific as weighing and measuring but it still works for me.) Well, one caveat - do you spray poisons in your yard? I wouldn't use it if you do. P.S. You can use use 80-100 proof cheap vodka if you want - just let the plant material dry out awhile before making the tincture. The fresh plant has a lot of water content so needs the higher alcohol level that everclear (grain alcohol) provides.