Dracocephalum parviflorum (American Dragonhead)
|Also known as:|
|Life cycle:||annual, short-lived perennial|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; dry gravelly soil, fields, open woods, waste areas|
|Bloom season:||May - August|
|Plant height:||8 to 30 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are in a thick spike 1 to 4 inches long at the top of the stem and at the end of stems arising from upper leaf axils. Individual flowers are about ¼ inch long, pale blue-violet, tubular with a notched upper lip and a 3-lobed lower lip. The bracts are long, hairy, sharply toothed with spines at the tooth tips.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are to 3 inches long and 1 inch wide, light to medium green, with large, coarse sharp teeth, a pointed tip, rounded or tapered at the base and a slender stalk. Attachment is opposite and there are often small leaflets clumped in the leaf axils. Leaf surfaces and the stem are smooth to sparsely hairy. Stems are square and typically branched.
The flower head dries to brown as fruit matures. Fruit is a black, 1-seeded nutlet.
American Dragonhead is something of a weedy species, popping up in disturbed soils along railroad rights-of-way, roadsides, ditches, degraded fields, and trail edges. A few plants even volunteered in my own backyard garden but did not persist.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken in Hubbard and Ramsey counties. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Hubbard County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?
on: 2010-07-17 12:09:41
Thanks for having the information about this plant on your site. Just found some specimens this year and was trying to figure out what it was. Now I have found enough of the plant to take a specimen to verify it with the DNR.
on: 2011-06-27 18:29:07
This was growing alongside road in horse pasture. pretty and great addition to my arrangements.
on: 2015-08-21 16:56:11
Does this ever spread close to the ground? I have a similar plant that is not upright.
on: 2016-07-17 15:46:11
Today, 7-17-2016, was about to pull a single plant in my wildflower garden, assuming it to be a nettle, when I noticed the just-opening small light-blue flowers in the stubby spike at the top. Used your page to ID it, then cross checked with USDA plant database. Thanks for your help!
on: 2019-03-03 23:27:55
This shows up now and again in my vegetable garden. I let grow anyway.
on: 2019-08-01 16:37:14
This showed up in a conservation planting. Looked "weedy" but it is not overly so.
on: 2020-08-03 21:23:58
Shows up now and then in cultivated soil.
on: 2022-07-08 22:09:33
Lots of this came up on the shoulders of the new walking paths in River Park in Brooklyn Park. Funny that before this disturbance I'd not seen any of it in the park before. Where did the seeds come from I wonder?