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This native perennial plant is 2½-5' tall; it is unbranched, or with a few small stems near the inflorescence. The central stem is ridged and slightly pubescent. The opposite leaves are greyish green, narrowly lanceolate, with serrated or dentate margins toward their tips. They are about 3-5" long and ¾" wide, becoming linear and shorter near the inflorescence. The foliage exudes a sage scent and has a sage taste. There is one or more whorled spikes of flowers toward the apex of the plant that are up to 1' long. The corolla of these flowers ranges in color from pale blue to deep dark blue, usually with a lighter-colored throat. The corolla is short and tubular, dividing into a small upper lobe and a large lower lobe that functions as a landing pad for visiting insects. The tubular calyx is dull green, longitudinally ridged, pubescent, and bluntly toothed. Each flower is about ¾" long from top to bottom. The blooming period occurs during the late summer and fall, and lasts about 1-2 months. There is no floral scent. Only a few flowers are in bloom at the same time. The root system consists of a large central taproot, from which several stems may be produced.


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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