COMMON NAME: ajuga
SPECIES, HYBRIDS, CULTIVARS:
A. pyramidalis-10 inches tall with blue flowers; does not spread. A. reptans ‘Alba’-spikes of white flowers grow only 6 inches tall; foliage is dark green. A.r. ‘Burgandy Glow’-creeps extensively; flowers are blue; foliage has unusual coloration-new growth is bright burgandy, older leaf growth is creamy white and dark pink.
BLOOMS: late spring
DESCRIPTION: This low-growing, mat-forming plant makes a wonderful ground cover. Many different species are available, several of which are used extensively in Europe. In mild climates the foliage is evergreen, and it forms such dense mats that weeds cannot grow through.
CULTIVATION: Ajuga needs to grow in sun or light shade. It spreads very quickly. For fast, good coverage, space plants 6 inches apart. Divide the plants in early spring or fall.
The genus name Ajuga means “not yoked” and was given to this plant because the sepals surrounding the bud are not connected. The species reptans describes the creeping growth habit characteristic of the plant.
There is some controversy as to the medicinal value of ajuga, or bugleweed, as it is sometimes called. Some say that he who has the bugleweed has no need of a surgeon. This alludes to its ability to stop bleeding-the sap contains tannin, a styptic. Because of this characteristic, the plant is also sometimes called carpenter’s-herb, suggesting that not-too-precise carpenters who sometimes hit their thumbs might find good use for this plant.
Other common names include middle comfrey, common bugle, and sicklewort.
Ajuga can be used as a black dye for wool.