White hedge-nettle / Prasium majus / براسيون كبير

By Zeynel Cebeci [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Status: Common

This plant species from the botanical family Lamiaceae is known by its common English name White hedge-nettle or Mediterranean prasium. Prasium majus is native to Madeira, the Canary Islands, Maltase Islands and the Mediterranean region of Europe, North Africa, western Asia and the Middle East, as far east as Turkey. This species is common in Palestine and wider area, in habitats like the Mediterranean wood and shrub lands and steppe.
White hedge-nettle is a perennial plant, with opposite and entire leaves. The leaves are 2 to 5 cm long, 0,8 to 2 cm wild, ovate-lanceolate, pointed, dark green shining and have a serrated border.

The bottom of the lower leaves is heart-shaped, the upper is truncated. This plant species grows up to one meter. The flowers are 17 to 23 mm long, hermaphrodite, white or light purple coloured. Inside the corolla there are one ring of scaly hairs and four stamens. The upper petal is entire, oblong and arched, whilst the lower petal is divided in three lobs, whose middle lobe is large.

White hedge-nettle is flowering from January to June and the pollination is carried out by bees. The fruits are black, measuring 3 to 4 mm long.
Lamiaceae family consists of about 233 genera, comprising 6900 species worldwide. Many species of this family have high culinary, cosmetic and medicinal value. Likewise, P. majus has also its importance in popular medicine against gastrointestinal diseases. Recent studies, moreover, showed that the extract of P. majus has antioxidant capacity.

Other names: Great Hedge-Nettle, Mediterranean Prasium.

IUCN red list status: not evaluated

Local status: least concern