This is an upright, unpleasantly strong-smelling plant with leafy spikes of reddish-purple two-lipped flowers in whorls. From June to September, it grows in hedgerows and beside ditches along roadsides throughout the country. Each flower (12-18mm) is very beautifully marked with lines to help bees in search of nectar and is well-worth taking a hand-lens to. The mouths of the flowers have stiff little hairs which serve to keep bees and flies there for a while and they pick up pollen from the stamens under the top petal, very efficiently ensuring fertilisation. The lower leaves are long-stalked and heart-shaped, the upper being quite short-stalked. This plant frequently hybridises with Stachys palustris. This is a native plant belonging to the family Lamiaceae.
I identified this plant in Woodstock, Co Wicklow in 1977 and photographed it in Gibletstown, Co Wexford in 2005.
If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre