Family:     Lamiaceae (Mint family)

Duration:  Perennial

Height:     110 cm (up to 4 ft)

Blooming: Aug.-Sept.


Obedient Plant

Physostegia virginiana  (L.) Benth.

Stem: hairless, green and square. On the nodes where the leaves grow off the stem, the stem is swollen.

Flowers: white with shades of pink and purple arranged in a spike that can be up to 25 cm (10 in) tall.  The flowers are tubular having fun shapes such as spots and stripes lightly glazed on the corolla. The corolla has an upper lip which is hooded and a lower lip which has three lobes.  Four purple anther peak out of the flower.

Leaves: sharp toothed, hairless leaves with a distinct point. All the leaves are sessile (attached directly to the stem) and lanceolate. Leaf arrangement is opposite.

Sun:  Full to part sun

Ideal Conditions:  Moist Sunny Areas.

INPAWS Native Communities:  Prairie Grassland (sun)


Etymology: The genus, Physostegia, comes from the Greek word physa  meaning "a bladder" and -stegio meaning "cover". This name is due to its inflated calyx.  When the flowers are moved manually back and forth, it holds wherever it was moved. This is where the common name, Obedient Plant, comes from.

all photos by Nathanael Pilla

Landscape: The flowers are wonderfully pink attracting butterflies and hummingbirds, but mainly those fabulous little bumblebees.  It is deer resistant as well. It can become aggressive in ideal conditions so dividing the plant may be necessary after many years.

Species Present and Native
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444 Barker Road

Michigan City, IN., 46360 

The mission of Save the Dunes is to preserve, protect and restore the Indiana dunes and all natural resources in Northwest Indiana’s Lake Michigan Watershed for an enhanced quality of life.

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