Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Hyssopleaf Hedge-nettle - Stachys hyssopifolia   Michaux
Members of Lamiaceae:
Members of Stachys with account distribution info or public map:
Google Images
Section 6 » Order Lamiales » Family Lamiaceae
DistributionFound mainly in the southern part of the Coastal Plain, particularly in the clay-based Carolina bay region of Hoke, Scotland, and Robeson counties, east to Jones and Onslow counties. Also widely scattered in the western and central Piedmont, with an isolated record for the southern Mountains (Transylvania County) and another in the northern Coastal Plain (Hertford County). Exam online of specimens and labels in 2022 reveals that the following counties were annotated as var. hyssopifolia by J.B. Nelson: Burke, Davidson, Harnett, Hoke, Jones, Onslow, Robeson, Scotland, Stanly. All others are suspect and need to be annotated.

This is an Eastern species with an oddly fragmented range. It ranges from New England and MI south to NJ and IL, and southward mainly in Atlantic states to northern FL. Thus, it could occur over nearly all of the state, and is certainly not "just" a Coastal Plain species.
AbundanceUncommon to infrequent in the clay-based bays region of the southwestern Coastal Plain, but very rare elsewhere in its NC range. Probably under-collected, and perhaps confused with S. aspera. This is a Watch List species, with a State Rank of S2.
HabitatThis is a wetland species of usually very shallow, stationary water; it favors clay-based bays, but can be found in shallow pools, other depression ponds, wet savannas, and rarely in ditches.
PhenologyBlooms from June to August, and fruits from August to September.
IdentificationThis is one of the smallest/shortest of the hedge-nettles in the state, with a mainly unbranched stem only about 1-1.5 feet tall. The angles of the stem are mostly glabrous, unlike so many other species. It has the narrowest leaves of the genus, the paired leaves being linear to very narrowly elliptic, sessile, and essentially entire (or with a few low teeth). These leaves are about 2 inches long but only 1/5-inch wide, and the leaf shape alone should be sufficient for identification. The inflorescence is somewhat similar to others -- several whorls of small pink (to pale pink in this species) flowers facing outward, from the upper leaf axils and the top of the stem. However, it usually has only several whorls (often just 2-3), and thus it is not as "floriferous" as most others in the genus. To see this species, you may need to do field work in a clay-based bay, as otherwise you would be quite lucky to see it.
Taxonomic CommentsRAB (1968) named this as S. hyssopifolia var. hyssopifolia, as that reference included the current S. aspera in the same species (as var. ambigua).

Stachys is a large and complex genus that is still actively being worked on, and our understanding of the species is slowly being clarified. For interested readers, we recommend journal papers by Nelson (1981, 2008) and by Fleming et al. (2011).
Other Common Name(s)Hyssop Hedge-nettle
State RankS2
Global RankG4G5
State StatusW7 [W1]
US Status
USACE-agcpOBL link
USACE-empFACW link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Photo Gallery
B.A. SorriePhoto taken 1989, at a "high pond" in Batesburg, SC. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
B.A. Sorrie.Photo taken 1982, freshwater pond in Sandwich, MA. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC

View Mapping Selection Options
Select a source
Select an occurrence type