A rhizomatous perennial with long, leafy and prostrate rooting stolons forming mats 60-100cm across. Leaves ovate, 3-9cm long, with or without broadly rounded teeth, usually a deep almost glossy green. Flowering stems 10-30cm tall. Flowers 1.4-1.7cm long, blue, rarely pink or white, from blue-tinted bracts. Europe, northern U.S.S.R. to the Caucasus, S.W. Asia and North Africa, in damp woods and pastures. This is the best known species in cultivation though almost entirely represent by cultivars, the type species being seldom grown. 'Alba' is like the species but with white flowers; 'Atropurpurea' (syn 'Purpurea') has lustrous, red-purple flushed leaves; 'Burgundy Glow' is similar with wine-red leaves; 'Delight' bears white and pink variegated leaves; 'Multicolor' ('Rainbow') has green and bronze leaves mottled yellow and flushed pink; 'Pink Elf is smaller than the species with 10cm tall stems of pink flowers; 'Variegata' produces green leaves splashed white and grey-green.