IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

This introduced perennial plant is 2-3' tall, branching occasionally. The central stem is 4-angled and slightly hairy. The opposite leaves are up to 5" long and 2" across. They are ovate or ovate-cordate, sparingly hairy, and serrated along the margins. The upper surface of each leaf is usually dark green; sometimes the surface of the upper leaves is tinted purple or red. At the base of each leaf, there is a slender petiole up to 1" long that is more or less hairy. The central stem and major side stems each terminate in a single head of flowers. Each flowerhead spans 3-4" across and has several leaf-like bracts underneath. These bracts are often tinted red or purple. The lower bracts are ovate or lanceolate, while the upper bracts are shorter and more linear in shape. Each flowerhead has a ring of several flowers in bloom at the same time. Each flower is about 1½" long, consisting of a 2-lipped red corolla and a tubular calyx. The upper lip of the corolla is semi-erect and tubular in shape, while the narrow lower lip arches downward. The outer surface of the upper lip is often finely pubescent, but it is not conspicuously hairy. The tubular calyx is light green to reddish green and has several veins along its length; there are 5 teeth along its outer rim. Two stamens and a style are strongly exerted from the upper lip of the corolla. The slender style is cleft at its tip. The blooming period occurs during the summer and lasts about 1-2 months. There is no floral scent, although the foliage is aromatic. The flowers are replaced by ovoid nutlets. The root system produces abundant rhizomes. This plant often forms vegetative colonies. Cultivation

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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