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How to Grow Stachys

Stachys (stak-is)

From the Greek stachus, a spike, alluding to the pointed inflorescences of this plant (Labiatae). A genus of 300 species of herbaceous perennials, annuals, sub-shrubs, with a few shrubby species, widely dispersed throughout the world. One tuberous-rooted species, S. affinis, is the Chinese or Japanese artichoke or crosnes. Some species are also known as wound-wort or betony; they are closely related to the deadnettles (Lamium).

Species cultivated S. affinis (syn. S. sieboldii, S. tuberifera), Chinese or Japanese artichoke, crosnes, 1-11 feet, roots edible, flowers pink, rarely seen, summer, China, Japan. S. coccinea, 2 feet, flowers scarlet, summer, Central America. S. corsica, 1 inch, a good rock garden plant, forms carpets of small leaves, flowers pale pink, almost stemless, all summer, Mediterranean region. S. lanata, lamb's-ear, 1 foot, grey, densely woolly foliage, flowers small, purple, July, Caucasus to Persia. S. lavandulifolia, 6 inches, lavender-leaved, flowers purplish-rose, July to August, Armenia. S. macrantha (syns. S. grandiflora, Betonica macrantha), betony, 1 foot, violet, May to July, Caucasus. S. officinalis, bishop's wort, wood betony, to 3 feet, flowers purple, June to August, Europe.

Cultivation The hardy perennials thrive in ordinary soil in a warm sheltered border. The most attractive is S. corsica, which is a little tender and needs good drainage and sun. It is better under glass in winter. S. lanata is good for edgings to border or beds, and there is a form obtainable which does not flower. It should be planted in autumn or spring. Propagation is by division in autumn or spring.



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