Information on Betony

Common Name: Betony
Scientific Name: Betonica officinalis
Irish Name: Lus beatha
Family Group: Lamiaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period

Click for list of all flowering by month
Betony is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.

Betony is best found in grassy banks, in woodland and hedgerows mainly in Counties Kerry and Wexford. A protected species, it is a rare find and a very pretty one. It grows to about 60cm high and bears pretty red-purple, 2-lipped flowers (12-18mm long) in whorls on 4-sided stems. The lower lip of each flower has 3 lobes, the central lobe being the largest. The flower has 4 stamens, 2 of which are short and 2 long.  The corolla tube is longer than the calyx which has pointed teeth. The leaves are oval-oblong, roundly-toothed and opposite with narrower leaves on the stem. Betony blooms from June to September, is a native perennial and belongs to the Lamiaceae or Dead-nettle family. 

I first saw and photographed Betony in August 2012 in Wellingtonbridge, Co Wexford. It was Paul Green, BSBI Vice-county Recorder for Waterford and Wexford, who kindly told me he had spotted it and gave me directions to where it grew. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Betony was used by herbalists for illnesses such as the ‘falling sickness’, ruptures, sciatica and headaches. Sadly, loss of habitat due to changing agricultural practices have contributed to its decline.