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Obedient Plant

Common Name: Obedient Plant.

Scientific Name: Physostegia Virginiana.

What to look for?  Lovely spires of purplish pink, tubular flowers sitting atop a tall stem. The central stem is unbranched, except near the inflorescence. The leaves are opposite, oblong, and green. The inflorescence consists of tall spikes of flowers at the ends of the upper stems. Each spike consists of four rows of densely packed horizontal flowers. These tubular flowers are white, lavender, or purplish pink, and they often have dots, or swirls of a slightly darker color. The flowers have no scent. The root system consists of a central taproot and rhizomes, which promotes the spread of this plant vegetatively.

Where can they be found at Carillon Stonegate Pond? The Obedient Plant may be found growing sporadically in wetlands around the forest preserve and our ponds.

How big are they? The Obedient Plant generally grows to approximately four (4) feet tall. The oblong leaves are up to five (5) inches long and one and one-half (1.5) inches wide. The spikes of flowers are ten (10) inches high, and each flower is one (1) inch across.

Where do they grow and thrive? The Obedient Plant is native to North America. It is primarily found in the eastern U.S. and southern Canada. The Obedient Plant can be found in wet meadows, barrens and glades, seepages in open woods, damp thickets, among other sites.

When do they bloom? The Obedient Plant blooms during late summer into early fall from August to October.

Do birds, insects or other wildlife associate with this plant? The nectar and pollen of the flowerheads attract various kinds of bees, butterflies, and an occasional Hummingbird. The plant is generally avoided by most animals.

Interesting Facts About the Obedient Plant:

  • Because the individual flowers stay in place when moved, one common name is 'Obedient Plant'.

  • Other names include False Dragon Head and Virginia Lions-heart.

For more information on the Obedient Plant and sources of information used in this blog (these are several of the sources that I am using to learn as I blog), please visit Illinois Wildflowers, Minnesota Wildflowers, Friends of the Wildflower Garden, and University of Texas Wildflower Center.

The Carillon at Stonegate community is very fortunate to have a variety of wetland, forest and prairie environments conducive to a variety of birds and other wildlife, insects and plants. Our community and the Kane County Forest Preserve do an exceptional job in maintaining this natural environment – both for the benefit of the birds and wildlife and for our residents to enjoy.


Take a hike and see what you can find – and identify!

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