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  1. Family: Lamiaceae Martinov
    1. Genus: Stachys L.
      1. Stachys germanica L.

        Downy woundwort is a rare relative of the more common Stachys species, for example betony (Stachys officinalis) and hedge woundwort (Stachys sylvatica) found in the UK. It can be distinguished by its covering of dense white hairs.

    [KSP]

    Kew Species Profiles

    General Description
    The downy woundwort is rare in the UK, and so benefits from full protection under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act.

    Downy woundwort is a rare relative of the more common Stachys species, for example betony (Stachys officinalis) and hedge woundwort (Stachys sylvatica) found in the UK. It can be distinguished by its covering of dense white hairs.

    Species Profile
    Geography and distribution

    In Britain, downy woundwort has been recorded from several counties scattered through southern England, but is now confined to just a few sites on oolite limestone in west Oxfordshire. It shows a strong fidelity for certain areas; it has persisted around Witney (Oxfordshire) since at least 1632. 

    In the UK, the species is at the northernmost extreme of its range. It is widespread in western, central and southern Europe, and also occurs in North Africa and the Orient.

    Description

    This rare plant is either a biennial or a short-lived perennial. The species requires a level of soil disturbance so that the heavy seeds may germinate during the temporary reprise from more aggressive competitors, and it has benefited from scrub clearance, two to three year rotovating, verge cutting and even a stubble fire.

    It flowers from July onwards, sometimes into the autumn. Tall, multistemmed plants produce the most flowers, and the amount of seed set is highest where bumblebees are numerous and most active.

    The seeds are able to remain dormant for a long period, and the plant can return to areas from which it has been absent for some time after hedges are cut back or the ground is disturbed.

    Threats and conservation

    The main threat to Stachys germanica is now lack of disturbance; many old sites have become neglected and overgrown. The seedlings of the downy woundwort become crowded out by grasses and shaded out by expanding untidy hedgerows. Occasionally, seeds have been stripped from plants by wood mice and bank voles.

    The downy woundwort is fully protected under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981. It is therefore illegal to uproot, cut, destroy or sell this plant or any part of it.

    Uses

    According to Mrs. Grieve's Herbal of 1931, the soft leaves were once used for dressing wounds.

    Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

    Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life world wide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in our seed bank vault.

    Number of seed collections stored in the Millennium Seed Bank:  Seven

    Seed storage behaviour: Orthodox (the seeds of this plant survive being dried without significantly reducing their viability, and are therefore amenable to long-term frozen storage such as at the MSB)

    Germination testing: Successful

    Composition values: Oil content 30%, Protein 17%

    Distribution
    United Kingdom
    Ecology
    Occurs on dry, moderately calcareous soils in open grassland, hedge bottoms, tracksides, quarries, scrub, ditch-sides and fallow land with plenty of light and warmth.
    Conservation
    Not evaluated by the IUCN, but rare in the UK.
    Hazards

    None recorded

    [KSP]
    Use
    Once used for dressing wounds.

    Images

    Distribution

    Native to:

    Albania, Austria, Baleares, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Is., Central European Rus, Corse, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Krym, Morocco, North Caucasus, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sardegna, Sicilia, South European Russi, Spain, Switzerland, Transcaucasus, Turkey, Turkey-in-Europe, Ukraine, Yugoslavia

    Introduced into:

    Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia

    Accepted Infraspecifics

    Synonyms

    Common Names

    English
    Downy woundwort

    Other Data

    Stachys germanica L. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Heldreich, T.H.H. [s.n.], Italy K000928330
    Láng, A.F. [s.n.] K000928796
    Láng, A.F. [s.n.] K000928797
    Day, C.D. [430], Turkey K000341634
    [Gined] [s.n.], Romania K000928331
    Tenore. [s.n.] K000928332
    Tenore. [s.n.], Italy K000928333

    Bibliography

    First published in Sp. Pl.: 581 (1753)

    Accepted by

    • Dobignard, A. & Chatelain, C. (2012). Index synonymique de la flore d'Afrique du nord 4: 1-431. Éditions des conservatoire et jardin botaniques, Genève.
    • Krestovskaya, T. (2011). The critical review of species of the genus Stachys L. section Eriostemum Hoffmanns. et Link (Labiatae) Novosti Sistematiki Vysshikh Rastenii 42: 198-221.
    • Castroviejo, S. & al. (eds.) (2010). Flora Iberica 12: 1-650. Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Madrid.
    • Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Selected Plant Families Database in ACCESS: 1-216203. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

    Literature

    Kew Species Profiles

    • Species other than birds specially protected under The Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981: Schedule 8 (Plants). (March 2002)
    • Dunn, A. J. (1997). Biological flora of the British Isles: No. 196. Stachys germanica. Journal of Ecology 85: 531-539.
    • Mabey, R. (1996). Flora Britannica. Sinclair-Stevenson, London.
    • Dunn, A. J. (1991). Further observations on Stachys germanica. L. Watsonia 18: 359-367.
    • Marren, P. R. (1988). The past and present distribution of Stachys germanica L. in Britain. Watsonia 17: 59-68.
    • Grieve, M. (1931). A Modern Herbal. Harcourt, Brace & Co.
    • National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (Jan 2003)

    Kew Backbone Distributions

    • Krestovskaya, T. (2011). The critical review of species of the genus Stachys L. section Eriostemum Hoffmanns. et Link (Labiatae) Novosti Sistematiki Vysshikh Rastenii 42: 198-221.

    Sources

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet http://www.kew.org/herbcat [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Species Profiles
    Kew Species Profiles
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0