Ballota nigra (black horehound)

Black horehound leaves

Black horehound (Ballota nigra) is an early sprouting plant and its leaves appear at the beginning of March.

The young leaves are roundish to heart-shaped, while the older leaves at the top of the shoots are ovate-lanceolate. They can grow up to 10 cm long with the stem.

Black horehound by the wayside
Young leaves of black horehound in March.

Habitus & biology

Ballota nigra is a perennial plant that can grow up to one meter in height. It blooms from June to October and the flowers can be dark pink to almost white in color.


Origin & habitats

Black horehound is native to Europe, North Africa, West Asia and the Caucasus (source). It grows in sunny to semi-shady locations on embankments, in front of bushes or hedges, along roadsides and on or near walls.

Black horehound and black nightshade
Black horehound and black nightshade (back left) under a bridge.


Botanically, Ballota nigra belongs to the Lamiaceae family. It is therefore not related to stinging nettles.

Black horehound Ballota nigra