A PERENNIAL growing to 90cm forming dense clusters with dark green opposite leaves along square stems and ragged tubular flowers borne on showy heads in many shades of scarlet, bright red, pink, salmon and crimson. Very attractive to bees and butterflies. It can grow in heavy clay soil, and prefers a sunny position or semi-shade.
Leaves and shoot tips as well as flowers can be eaten while an excellent aromatic tea is made from fresh or dried leaves and flower heads. Often used in home herbal remedies.
Eat leaves and tips raw or cooked salads, fruit salads, and add to drinks. The flowers make a pretty edible garnish.
Medicinal actions include anthelmintic, Carminative, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, rubefacient and stimulant.
It is useful for digestive disorders as well as for the treatment of colds and fevers. The essential oil is used in perfumery and as a cosmetic additive while the dried flowers give scent and colour to pot=pourri.