Stachys is a genus of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae, comprising about 300 species. It is commonly known as heal-all, self-heal, betony, woundwort, lamb's ears, and hedgenettle. Stachys species can be found growing in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia and North America.
Stachys is an annual or perennial herbaceous plants and shrubs, 0.5 - 3 m tall, but it is the perennial that are widely grown, usually in mixed borders or as edging plants. The leaves are simple, opposite, triangular, 1-14 cm long with serrated margins. In most species, the leaves are with soft hairs. The flowers of white to pink, purple, red or pale yellow are borne in clusters, in axis of the leaves on the upper part of the stem. The flowers attract butterflies and bees. Stachys species are also food plants for larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the Coleophora case-bearers C. auricella, C. lineolea and C. wockeella.
Stachys byzantinia (Lamb's ear), 45 x 60 cm, is a native of Turkey, Armenia, and Iran. It is a perennial herb with leaves (5-10cm long) that are opposite, thick, wrinkle, usually densely covered on both sides with gray or silver white, silky-lanate hairs. It is named Lamb's ear because of the curved shaped and white, soft, fur-like hair coating leaves. Small flowers of pink-purple or white are borne in early summer to early autumn. Several cultivars have been developed for their foliage. 'Big Ears' has large, white-felted, mid-green leaves of up to 25 cm long, and purple flowers. ' Cotton Ball' has silvery leaves and flowers that look like balls of cotton wool.
Stachys macrantha, 60 x 30 cm, has dark green, wrinkled, hairy leaves and dense spikes of deep purple-pink, funnel-shaped flowers in early summer to autumn.
Stachys grows well in full sun, and in well-drained soil. Propagation is by divide in spring. Stachys species are susceptible to mildew.