southern obedient plant

(Physostegia virginiana ssp. praemorsa)

Conservation Status

 

No image available

 
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

FACW - Facultative wetland

     
  Midwest

FACW - Facultative wetland

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

FACW - Facultative wetland

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Southern obedient plant is a 2 to 5 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on multiple stems clustered on a short caudex.

The stems are erect, hairless, 4-angled, and hollow. They have 10 to 34 opposite pairs of leaves and are often branched near the top with several racemes.

The leaves are opposite, hairless, lance-shaped or inversely egg-shaped, up to 5 long and 1½ wide. The bottom 1 to 7 pairs may be stalked and soon fall off. The remaining leaves are stalkless. The margins are toothed usually with sharp teeth, sometimes with blunt teeth, or are rarely untoothed.

The inflorescence is a elongated, unbranched cluster (raceme) at the ends of the stems and branches. The racemes are 2 to 6 long when in flower and have 4 rows of densely packed flowers that mature from the bottom up. There are usually some empty floral bracts below the inflorescence. When moved left or right the individual flowers stay where they are moved, hence the name “obedient plant”.

The flowers are to 1 long. The 5 sepals are green, ¼ long, and are fused at the base into a tube with 5 sharply pointed lobes. The 5 petals are pink with purple spots on the inside. They are fused at the base into a tube with 2 lips. The upper lip is broad, hood-like, and overhanging. The lower lip is divided into a broad central lobe and 2 smaller lateral lobes. There are 4 stamens with purple anthers visible under the upper lip. There is no floral scent.

The fruit is a smooth nutlet with 1 seed.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

2 to 5

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Pink

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  Obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana ssp. virginiana) stems are scattered along a long, horizontal rhizome. There are no empty floral bracts below the inflorescence.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Dry to moderate moisture. Prairies, open woods. Full to partial sun.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

August to October

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

4, 30

 
  4/14/2021      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native (?)

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  
 

Order

Lamiales (mints, plantains, olives, and allies)  
 

Family

Lamiaceae (mint)  
  Subfamily Lamioideae  
  Tribe Synandreae  
  Genus Physostegia (lionsheart)  
  Species Physostegia virginiana (obedient plant)  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Physostegia praemorsa

Physostegia serotina

Physostegia virginiana var. arenaria

Physostegia virginiana var. reducta

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

false dragonhead

obedience

southern obedient plant

obedient plant

obedient-plant

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Caudex

A short, thickened, woody, persistent enlargement of the stem, at or below ground level, used for water storage.

 

Raceme

An unbranched, elongated inflorescence with stalked flowers. The flowers mature from the bottom up.

 

Rhizome

A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

 

Sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

 
 
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Slideshows
   
  Physostegia virginiana arenaria PRAIRIE OBEDIENT PLANT
Frank Mayfield
 
  Physostegia virginiana arenaria PRAIRIE OBEDIENT PLANT  

 

slideshow

       
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