Bugle (Ajuga reptans) or Glasair choille in Irish is a perennial plant that can be seen from now until June in damp woods and shady places, in hedges, on roadsides and on grassy banks as it displays its deep blue flower spikes to passing bees and butterflies (1)
It is a member of the mint family. Plants in this family have square stems and opposite leaves and lipped flowers arranged in clusters around the stem. (The lower lip in these flowers acts as a landing platform for bees seeking nectar). Aromatic plants in this family include Lavender, Rosemary, Mint and Thyme.
Sometimes it occurs in large patches because it spreads by means of rhizomes which creep underground. (2).
The stems are hollow and hairy on two sides only. The leaves are large and oval shaped.
It was used long ago to stop bleeding from wounds.
Red deadnettle (Lamium purpureum) or Neantóg chaoch is also in the mint family, is flowering now. It began in March and will flower for many more months. This is an annual plant which produces reddish-purple flowers on top of its stems and grows in waste places, roadsides and along field margins (3).
The leaves bear some resemblance to those on nettles to which they are not related. However, the hairs on them are very short and the toothed leaves are rounded, not pointed. And of course, they do not sting!
Like Bugle it is pollinated by bees and was also used to staunch bleeding from wounds.