Physostegia virginiana

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Physostegia virginiana

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Physostegia
Species: P. virginiana
Binomial name
Physostegia virginiana
(L.) Benth.

Physostegia virginiana (obedient plant, obedience, or false dragonhead)[1] is a species of flowering plant in the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is native to North America, where it is distributed from eastern Canada to northern Mexico.[1] Physostegia are known commonly as obedient plants because a flower pushed to one side will often stay in that position.[2] The name false dragonhead refers to the dragonheads of the related Dracocephalum,[2] a genus to which the plant once belonged.[3]


It is a rhizomatous perennial herb producing clumps of stiff, squared stems 2 to 4 feet tall. The leaves are lance-shaped and toothed. It has long, dense spikes of lipped, pinkish, "snapdragon-like" flowers in the summer.[2]

There are two recognized subspecies. The ssp. praemorsa is more widespread farther south, to Texas and New Mexico, and the ssp. virginiana extends farther north and west.[4]


Because of its seeds, Physostegia may be invasive.

It is considered a good plant for adding late-season flowers to a garden. Fertile soils produce robust growth and wide spreading, and the plant may require staking. When it grows tall it has a "tendency toward floppiness" that can be controlled with pruning. It can be aggressive and dominate a landscape.[2]


Several cultivars have been bred for color variety.[5] Some (agm) have earned the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

Cultivars include.

  • 'Alba' - white flowers.
  • 'Crown of Snow' - white flowers
  • 'Pink Bouquet' - rose pink flowers
  • 'Rosea' - pink flowers
  • 'Rosy Spire' - lavender-pink flowers
  • 'Summer Snow' (agm)[6] - pure white flowers
  • 'Variegata' - pink flowers, green and white variegated leaves
  • 'Vivid' (agm)[7] - bright pink flowers


  1. ^ a b Physostegia virginiana. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).
  2. ^ a b c d Physostegia virginiana. Missouri Botanical Garden.
  3. ^ Physostegia virginiana. NatureServe. 2012.
  4. ^ Physostegia virginiana. USDA PLANTS.
  5. ^ Physostegia virginiana. Michigan State University Extension.
  6. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Physostegia virginiana 'Summer Snow'". Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  7. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Physostegia virginiana 'Vivid'". Retrieved 26 May 2013. 

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