Collinsonia canadensis

Common name: Stone Root Family: Labiatae
Author: L. Botanical references: 43, 200
Known Hazards: Minute doses of the fresh leaves can cause vomiting222, though the root is well-tolerated by the body238.
Range: Eastern N. America – Ontario and Vermont to Florida, west to Wisconsin.
Habitat: Rich damp woods43, 222.
Edibility Rating (1-5): 0 Medicinal Rating (1-5): 3
Other Common Names: From various places around the Web, may not be correct. See below.
Kolinsonia E, Richweed B,P, Stone Root S,H,
Epithets: From a Dictionary of Botanical Epithets
canadensis = northeastern America; cana = grayed due to hairs;
Systematics: From a UDSA Plants Database
Order: Lamiales. Renamed to Lamiaceae — Mint family
Other Range Info: From the Ethnobotany Database
Turkey; Us; Us(Appalachia)

Physical Characteristics

Perennial growing to 0.8m by 0.4m . It is hardy to zone 4. It is in flower in August. The scented flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. We rate it 0/5 for edibility and 3/5 for medicinal use.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It requires moist or wet soil.

Habitats and Possible Locations

Bog Garden, Woodland, Dappled Shade, Shady Edge.

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal Uses

Alterative; Antispasmodic; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Sedative; Tonic; Vasodilator; Vulnerary.

The whole plant, but especially the fresh root, is alterative, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, diuretic, sedative, tonic, vasodilator and vulnerary

4, 21, 46, 102, 165. A tea made from the roots is strongly diuretic, it is valuable in the treatment of all complaints of the urinary system and the rectum and is used in the treatment of piles, indigestion, diarrhoea, kidney complaints etc4, 222. It has proved of benefit in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, mucous colitis and varicose veins254. The root is seldom used on its own but is contained in remedies with other herbs, especially Aphanes arvensis, Eupatorium purpureum and Hydrangea arborescens238. The roots contain more than 13,000 parts per million of rosmarinic acid, the same anti-oxidant that is found in rosemary222. The fresh leaves are strongly emetic222. Some caution is advised, see notes above on toxicity222. A poultice of the leaves or roots is applied to burns, bruises, sores, sprains etc4, 222, 254.

We have a more details factsheet on the history and medicinal use of this plant. Email for details.

Other Uses

None known

Cultivation details

Prefers a sandy peat in a moist situation but it is easily grown in ordinary garden soils1 so long as they are not dry200. Prefers dappled shade200. The whole plant has a strong disagreeable odour and a pungent spicy taste4. Another report says that the foliage is strongly aromatic, with a lemon scent238.


Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. The seed can also be sown in the spring, though it might be slower to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame. Plant them out in spring or early summer of their second year. Division in spring1.


Leaves: Crushed
The foliage has a strongly aromatic lemon scent.