Teucrium canadense

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: American germander 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: North America
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 1.50 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: Purplish-pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Herb, Naturalize
Flower: Showy

Culture

Easily grown in moist, fertile, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates part shade. Some tolerance for poorly-drained soils. Avoid dry soils. Can be aggressive in optimum growing conditions where it often spreads easily by rhizomes and self-seeding to form large colonies. Easily grown from seed. Propagate by seeds, cuttings and division.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Teucrium canadense, commonly known as American germander or Canada germander, is a woody-based, clump-forming, rhizomatous, herbaceous perennial of the mint family. Each plant typically consists of a single (usually unbranched), stout, hollow, hairy, square stem to 18-36” tall clad with opposite leaves and topped in summer by a terminal spike of purplish-pink flowers. It is native to moist woods, thickets and marshes in eastern and central North America. In Missouri, it is typically found in prairies, wet meadows, low woodlands, thickets, fields, and along streams/railroads in every county in the State (Steyermark). Additional common names include wood sage and wild basil.

Lanceolate to narrow-ovate, coarsely-toothed, sharply-pointed, short-stalked, aromatic-when-crushed leaves (2-5” long) are smooth to soft-hairy above and grayish-hairy beneath. Leaves have distinctive reticulated veins. Two-lipped, purplish-pink flowers (2/3” long) bloom in long narrow upright terminal clusters (spike-like racemes to 2-8” long) from mid June to September. Flowers lack fragrance. Flowers are distinctive in that the upper lip is almost absent but 4 stamens project outward through the cleft. The lower lip has three lobes (typical of the mint family) with a large central lobe and two smaller rounded side lobes. Flowers give way to rounded yellowish-brown seeds (nutlets).

Native Americans used the leaves to make medicinal teas. Leaves were also steeped in water for use in healing sores and ulcers of the skin.

Genus name comes from the Greek name, possibly named for Teucer, first king of Troy.

Specific epithet is in reference to this plant being native in part to Canada.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to mildew, leaf spot, rust and mites.

Garden Uses

These plants are usually grown for their foliage effect rather than for their flowers. Herb gardens. Native plant gardens. Stream/pond margins.