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Water Germander

Teucrium scordium

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Lamiaceae (Dead-nettle)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Ditches, fens, marshes, ponds, riverbanks, sand dunes, wetland.

Pink, 5 petals
Pale pink to reddish-purple, snapdragon-like flowers. The flowers are borne in clusters at the leaf bases. Pollinated by bees.
Slightly net-veined, off-spherical nutlets, about 1mm in size. The seeds ripen from August to October.
The short-stalked leaves are oblong and toothed. The leaves are in opposite pairs up the erect stem. Perennial.
Other Names:
Garlic Germander.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Teucrium scordium, also known as water germander, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family. It is native to Europe, Asia and North Africa.

It is a perennial herb that grows to be around 30-60 cm tall. The leaves are opposite, small, linear, and curled or curled under at the edges, and have a strong scent when crushed. The flowers are small and pink-purple, arranged in dense spikes. They appear in late spring to early summer. This plant is native to wetland and marshy habitats and it thrives in such environments. It is hardy, easy to grow and tolerant to most soil types. It is not commonly used as ornamental plant but it is used for medicinal and culinary purposes.


Water Germander, scientifically known as Teucrium scordium, is a herbaceous plant that belongs to the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, but has also been introduced to North America. The plant is commonly found growing in wet meadows, marshes, and along streams.

The Water Germander plant has a square stem and opposite leaves that are oval-shaped and toothed. Its flowers, which bloom from June to August, are small and white or pinkish in color. The plant is known for its strong odor, which is reminiscent of camphor.

The Water Germander has a long history of use in traditional medicine. In ancient times, it was believed to have medicinal properties that could cure a variety of ailments, such as fever, headaches, and respiratory problems. The plant was also used as a diuretic and a laxative.

In modern times, the Water Germander has been studied for its potential use in treating certain medical conditions. Studies have shown that the plant contains a number of compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These properties may make the plant useful in treating conditions such as arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

One of the compounds found in Water Germander is known as teucrin A. This compound has been found to have anti-inflammatory effects, which may be useful in treating conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Another compound found in the plant is known as ursolic acid, which has been found to have antioxidant properties that may be useful in preventing damage to cells caused by free radicals.

Despite its potential medicinal properties, it is important to note that the Water Germander can be toxic if ingested in large quantities. The plant contains a number of compounds that can be harmful to humans and animals, including teucrin A and teucvin. Ingesting large amounts of these compounds can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even liver damage.

Water Germander, also known as Water Sage, is a hardy plant that is relatively easy to grow. It prefers moist soil and partial shade, but can also tolerate full sun and drier soil conditions. The plant can be propagated by seed or by taking stem cuttings in the spring or fall.

Water Germander has also been used for culinary purposes. In some countries, the leaves of the plant are used as a seasoning in soups, stews, and salads. The plant has a slightly bitter taste, but its flavor can be mellowed by boiling the leaves before use.

In addition to its potential medicinal and culinary uses, Water Germander is also an important plant for wildlife. The flowers of the plant are a valuable source of nectar for bees and other pollinators, while the leaves provide food and habitat for a variety of insects and other small animals.

Unfortunately, Water Germander is also considered an invasive species in some areas. In North America, the plant has been known to spread rapidly and crowd out native vegetation. It is important to exercise caution when growing Water Germander and to prevent it from spreading to areas where it is not wanted.

Water Germander has also been used in traditional medicine to treat digestive issues, such as indigestion and diarrhea. It has been used as a laxative and a diuretic, which can help to relieve water retention and promote bowel movements.

In addition, Water Germander has been used to treat respiratory problems, such as coughs and bronchitis. Its anti-inflammatory properties may help to reduce inflammation in the airways, making it easier to breathe.

Some studies have also suggested that Water Germander may have anti-tumor properties. In animal studies, compounds found in the plant have been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. However, more research is needed to determine if these findings apply to humans.

It's worth noting that while Water Germander has been used for centuries in traditional medicine, there is limited scientific evidence to support its effectiveness for many of the conditions it has been used to treat. As with any herbal remedy, it's important to talk to your doctor before using Water Germander to treat a medical condition.

In summary, Water Germander is a versatile plant with a long history of use in traditional medicine. While it may offer potential benefits for certain medical conditions, it should be used with caution due to its potential toxicity. If you're interested in using Water Germander for medicinal or culinary purposes, be sure to do your research and talk to a qualified healthcare professional before getting started.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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