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Statewide IPM Program, University of California

Healall  (Prunella vulgaris var. vulgaris)

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Life stages of Healall (selfheal) mature plant flower nutlets seedling

Healall is a perennial broadleaf weed found in two forms: a gray, hairy form and a smooth green form. It usually grows in dense patches. In California it is found on the North Coast, Central Coast, and South Coast to about 660 feet (200 m) in turf, pastures, and other disturbed, moist sites.


Cotyledons (seed leaves) are square to egg shaped with a base that is squared to barely lobed, and have a squared to slightly indented leaf tip. Cotyledons are opposite to one another on the stem and have a smooth surface or are covered with nipplelike projections. Leaf stalks are hairy. The first leaves are egg shaped and sparsely covered with short, thick, nipple-based hairs.

Mature plant

The mature plant is prostrate spreading up to 1-3/5 feet (0.5 m) in length. Stems are branched or unbranched and are square in cross-section. Leaves are egg shaped to oblong egg shaped, with a round base and rounded tips and have either smooth edges or slightly wavy to scantily toothed edges. Leaves are opposite to one another along the stem, and range from hairless to having many short hairs. Most leaves have stalks, however, upper leaves may lack stalks.


Three blue-violet, lavender, pink, or rarely white flowers cluster closely in each whorl. The whorls create a dense spike flower head at the tip of the flowering stem. Scaly looking structures (bracts) below the flowers often have purple-tinged tips. Farther down, below the base of the flower head, is a pair of leaves.


Fruits consist of four nutlets enclosed by the outer petal-like sepals.


Each seed is egg shaped, about 1/17 of an inch (1.5 mm) long, smooth, with a rounded back, and angled front, and a base tapered to a white attachment point.


Reproduces by seed and from creeping stems that root at the joints (nodes).

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