A hairy, perennial herb to 30 cm. Has a basal rosette of velvety, toothed leaves and soft, erect stems. Found in a range of soils and habitats from coastal forests to the dry, mallee country. Leaves decrease in size towards the flowers spikes. Flowers are usually deep blue or purple, mainly in spring and summer, and are around 15 mm long, somewhat tubular in shape and have a short upper lip and a long, spreading lower lip. Pink and white forms are also known. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) Prefers semi shade but will tolerate full sun and extended dry periods once established. Tolerant of moderate frosts. Dislikes poorly drained situations. Will spread rapidly by root suckers and can be a useful ground cover. Propagation from seed or cuttings which usually strike reliably and quickly.

Ajuga australis is used widely by native bees. The leaves have reportedly been used as a salve for wounds and in the treatment of boils and sores.


– Lassak. E. V. and McCarthy. T. Australian Medicinal Plants.

– Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. 1995 ISBN 0-7513-020-31

Photo: Robert Whyte