Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Florida Betony or Rattlesnake Weed: Stachys floridana

Weed Description:  A perennial weed primarily of turfgrass and lawns with large, segmented underground tubers that resemble a rattlesnake's tail.  Florida betony may also occur as a weed of landscapes, nursery stock, and ornamentals and is found throughout the southeastern United States.  Florida betony has spread northward from Florida since the 1940's but is still somewhat rare in Virginia.
Leaves:  Arranged oppositely along the stem and occurring on petioles.  Leaves are lance-shaped in outline, approximately 3/4 to 3 inches long and 1/4 to 1 inch wide.  Leaf margins have rounded, or 'scalloped' margins.
Stems:  Erect, ranging from 8 to 20 inches tall and square in cross section.

Flowers: Occur in clusters at the top of the erect flowering stems.  Individual flowers are white to pink with purple spots, only 10 to 11 mm long.

Roots:  Large, white, segmented tubers that resemble a rattlesnake's tail. flbetony4-27.jpg (71708 bytes)
Identifying Characteristics:   The lance-shaped leaves with scalloped margins, stems that are square in cross section, and the 'rattlesnake' tubers are all characteristics that help in the identification of Florida betony.  Healall (Prunella vulgaris) is somewhat similar in leaf shape and growth habit, however this weed does not have the scalloped leaf margins and underground tubers like Florida betony.