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Marrubium vulgare

Marrubium vulgare (Horehound)
Lamiaceae (Mint Family)

Semi-desert, foothills.  Gardens, fields, disturbed areas.  Spring, summer.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, May 8, 2007.

Marrubium vulgare is a non-native species now at home on disturbed sites in much of the West and scattered throughout the rest of the United States.  It grows to three feet tall, often in large, dense patches. Stems are conspicuously white-woolly. Leaves are broadly deltoid to orbicular, deeply veined, and woolly beneath and canescent (fine white hairy) above.

In 1753 Linnaeus gave both the genus and species name to this plant. "Marrubium" is derived from the Hebrew word, "marrob", "bitter juice".

Although the origin and meaning of many common plant names are not known, we can make some meaning out of "Horehound". First, the name goes back many centuries and has roots beyond old and middle English. "Hoar", as in "hoarfrost", was apparently applied to this plant because of the white hairiness of its leaves. "Hune" was probably one of the original spellings of the second part of the name and that probably meant "strong-scented". The pronunciation and eventually the spelling evolved to "hound", but the plant name almost certainly has nothing to do with dogs.

Some folks know of horehound because it is used to flavor candy that is used for sore throats.

Marrubium vulgare

Marrubium vulgare

Marrubium vulgare

Marrubium vulgare (Horehound)
Lamiaceae (Mint Family)

Semi-desert, foothills.  Gardens, fields, disturbed areas.  Spring, summer.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, May 8, 2007
Carpenter Natural Area, June 8, 2015.

White flowers are minute in interrupted spikes of dense verticils (a whorl of parts, in this case, flowers) tucked into the leaf axils.

The second and third photographs at left show the white corollas and the anemone-like arms of the calyces. Notice that the anemone arms (the teeth of the calyces) are sometimes of slightly varying lengths and that the tips are markedly hooked. The round indentation at the base of the calyx teeth is the area where the white corolla was attached but has now fallen away.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Marrubium vulgare

Range map for Marrubium vulgare