Piloblephis rigida

Common Name: wild pennyroyal 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: Southeastern United States, Bahamas
Zone: 9 to 10
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Lilac to lavender
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant, Evergreen
Attracts: Butterflies
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-10 where it is easily grown in acidic, sandy/gritty, dry to moderately moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Avoid overly moist to wet soils. Tolerant of drought. Propagate by seeds or cuttings.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Piloblephis rigida, commonly known as wild pennyroyal, is a low growing woody evergreen shrublet in the mint family that typically grows to 12-24” tall and as wide. It is noted for its fragrant evergreen foliage and long bloom of showy flowers. It is native to scrubby flatwoods, open woodlands, pinelands, dry prairies, and sandhills in Florida, far southern Georgia and northern parts of the Bahamas. Tiny, linear, heavily pubescent green leaves are aromatic when bruised. Two-lipped, lilac to lavender flowers with dark purple spots on the lower lips bloom in showy, rounded, terminal clusters from late fall to mid spring (November – April), sometimes with occasional additional bloom throughout the year.

Satureja rigida and Pycnothymus rigida are synonyms.

Genus name comes from the Greek words pilo meaning hairy and blephis meaning eyelid in reference to the tiny hairs found on plant foliage.

Specific epithet comes from rigida meaning rigid in reference to the stiff branches of this plant.

Native American Indians drank hot tea made from plant leaves to treat a number of medical problems including colds and fevers. When placed in a dog’s bed, a small bag of leaves reportedly helps drive away fleas.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problem.

Garden Uses

Wildflower gardens. Butterfly gardens. Border fronts. Ground cover. Can be grown in containers. Attractive foliage plant when the flowers are not in bloom.