False Dragon's Head - Lion's Heart
Physostegia virginiana ssp virginiana (Linnaeus) Bentham
Syn: P. praemorsa - (Shinners) Cantino
Lamiaceae (Mint) Family
The plant is an upright, nearly smooth perennial with a rhizomes from which new growth emerges. Its preferred habitat is prairies, roadsides and bogs. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.
The leaves are opposite on the stem, consisting of a whole part; no leaf stalk; widest at the middle to lance-like; forms an angle to the left with tip pinched. Leaf margins are toothed and leaf base graduates to a narrow point.
Flowers are a cluster at the end of the flowering stem. The calyx is 5-lobed and the corolla may be white to deep pink and spotted with reddish purple; 4 stamens. Flowers occur in late summer and early autumn.
Fruit is a seed in which the outer layer is fused to it (achene).
This snapdragon-like plant has the typical square stem of the Mint family. If the flexible stems are bent they tend to stay in the new position for a few minutes, thus the name. Several garden forms are cultivated throughout this area and many have escaped, where they quickly return to a native state. In olden times the root and stem of the plant were used to make a tasty tea for treating respiratory diseases.