Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Plant of the week: Obidient Plant or False Dragonhead (Physostegia virginiana)

This plant gets its name from the unique attribute that when an individual flower is moved it stays in place.  The other name, false dragonhead, arises from its resemblance to a European flower with that name.  This wonderful, showy wildflower is a member of the mint family and as such has a 4 angled stem that can reach as high as 4' tall.  The entire plant is hairless or smooth and the individual leaves are serrated, lance shaped and about 5" long and 1 1/2" wide.  The individual flowers are tubular in nature with 2 lips and the upper lip has a short hood and the lower lip is divided with three lobes.  The individual color of the flowers can range from pure white to deep lavender and this is a widely planted species with many cultivars available.  This plant can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions and will form large colonies in above average to moist soils.  Its preference is for well-drained loamy soils but it can tolerate some clay and gravel.  Bumble bees are the most important pollinators although other long-tongued bees and the ruby-throated hummingbird will use the flowers as will some butterflies with long proboscis like some of the swallowtails and silver-spotted skippers. Keep in mind, this can be an aggressive seeder in the garden and it will need to be divided every couple of years.  Some great companion plants shown above include great blue lobelia, orange coneflower, wild golden glow, some of the asters that flower early, and perhaps even cardinal flower.  I know if you have any spotted jewelweed (an annual I know but you can get seeds started in your garden by collecting them in the wild) the hummingbirds will come have a field day.

1 comment:

  1. This is one I've been growing for at least 30 years, but I never realized it reseeded. I knew it spread like crazy, but all the additional plants are the same size. I don't I've never seen a small seedling anywhere. They're beautiful en masse, and if you're one of those who doesn't like lots of one thing, they're so easy to pull up - you don't even need a trowel - and give to a friend. I can recall standing in the rain with friends years ago and doing just that.