Bugle, Ajuga reptans

This photo is of a quite splendid example of Bugle which was growing out of a wall in my garden. However it also crops up in my lawn and there it is a little less welcome. It is quite shade tolerant and so is often found in woodlands, particularly the glades and at the edges of paths. In shady positions it will often grow a bit taller 

As you can see it is a member of the Lamiaceae (Nettle family) the flowers having the typical lip which splits into two lobes. Also were you to examine the stem then it would be square in cross section.Rather peculiar is that the stem has hairs on two sides but not on the other two sides.The leaves are quite shiny and often have a purplish blush. Lower down the stem the leaves  normally have an irregular or wavy edge but the further up the stem then the leaves become more rounded and with a smooth edge. They are almost bract like and the purple coloration adds to the overall attraction level for visiting pollinators. The flowers are borne in whorls at each node and usually number about 8 at each junction, the structure is very similar to that found with the White Dead Nettle. However they do not all flower in one hit, as can be seen above some are in full bloom whilst several others are still in bud. This is probably a sort of insurance policy so that at least some will be in bloom when conditions are optimum for pollination.

It flowers between April and July and is attractive to a variety of insects including several species of Fritillary  Butterflies also, Green-veined Whites, Silver Y Moths,  White-tailed Bumblebees and Common Carder Bees.

Click to see other flowers from the Wye valley woodlands

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