smooth hedge nettle

(Stachys tenuifolia)

Conservation Status
smooth hedge nettle
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N4N5 - Apparently Secure to Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACW - Facultative wetland


OBL - Obligate wetland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACW - Facultative wetland


Smooth hedge nettle is a 8 to 40 tall, erect, mostly hairless, perennial forb that rises from a rhizome. It often forms colonies.

The stems are erect, square, hollow, and usually unbranched. They have scattered, downward-pointing hairs on the ridges of the stem but no hairs between the ridges.

The leaves are opposite, thin, oblong or lance-shaped, 2 to 6 long, and up to 1½ wide. They are on leaf stalks, the main leaves on stalks 5 16 to 1 long, the lower leaves on stalks at least ¼ long. The leaf blades taper to a point at the tip with concave sides along the tip. They are blunt or rounded at the base with the sides coming together at an angle much greater than 90°. The upper and lower surfaces may have hairs along the lower midrib but are otherwise hairless. The margins have rounded, forward-pointing teeth.

The inflorescence is a 2 to 8 long spike of flower clusters at the end of the stem. Each cluster usually has 6 flowers and is subtended by a small, leaf-like bract. Each pair of opposite flower clusters together form a false whorl.

The flowers are to long. They have 5 green, hairless sepals that are fused at the base into a calyx tube 3 32 to 3 16 long and separated at the end into 5 triangular lobes. There are 5 petals that are fused at the base into a corolla tube about ¼ long. The petals are pink to white and often have darker pink or reddish splotches near the throat. The calyx tube is always at least as long as the corolla tube. The corolla is divided at the end into 2 lips. The upper lip is about 3 16 long and wide, hood-like, hairy outside, hairless inside. The lower lip is divided at the tip into 3 lobes, a large central lobe and 2 smaller lateral lobes. There are 4 stamens protected beneath the hood.

The fruit is 4 greenish-white, 3-ribbed, 1-seeded nutlets. They turn black when they ripen.




8 to 40


Flower Color


Pink to white


Similar Species


American germander (Teucrium canadense) flowers have a greatly reduced upper lip.

Hispid hedge nettle (Stachys hispida) leaf stalks are no more than long. The leaves and calyx are rough with stiff hairs (hispid).

Marsh hedge nettle (Stachys palustris) stems have copious hairs both on the ridges of the stem and between the ridges. The petals are pink or lavender with white spots.

Woundwort (Stachys pilosa var. arenicola) stems have copious hairs both on the ridges of the stem and between the ridges. The petals are pink or lavender with white spots.


Moist. Wet meadows and fields, wooded bottomland, stream banks. Full to partial sun.




June to August


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Lamiales (mints, plantains, olives, and allies)  


Lamiaceae (mint)  
  Subfamily Lamioideae  
  Tribe Stachydeae  
  Genus Stachys (hedgenettles)  

There is considerable disagreement about the number, the classification, and the common names of Minnesota’s Stachys species and varieties.




Stachys glabra

Stachys palustris var. macrocalyx

Stachys tenuifolia var. perlonga

Stachys tenuifolia var. platyphylla

Stachys tenuifolia var. tenuifolia


Common Names


hedge nettle

narrow-leaved betony

narrow-leaved hedge-nettle

slender betony

slenderleaf betony

smooth hedge nettle

smooth hedge-nettle

smooth hedgenettle













Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.



The group of outer floral leaves (sepals) below the petals, occasionally forming a tube.



A collective name for all of the petals of a flower.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

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    smooth hedge nettle      


    smooth hedge nettle      



  Stachys tenuifolia (Smooth Hedge-Nettle)
Allen Chartier
  Stachys tenuifolia (Smooth Hedge-Nettle)  



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