Teucrium canadense (Germander)

Plant Info
Also known as: Canada Germander, American Germander, Wood Sage
Family:Lamiaceae (Mint)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; moist thickets, ditches, woodland edges, along streams
Bloom season:July - August
Plant height:1 to 4 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW MW: FACW NCNE: FACW
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular Flower shape: tubular Cluster type: raceme Cluster type: spike

[photo of flowers] Spike-like raceme of stalked flowers at the top of the stem, elongating as the plant matures with flowers open near the tip and fruit forming below. Flowers are irregular, about ¾-inch long, pink to lavender, occasionally white. The lower lip is broad with purple spots near the base, the upper lip is shorter and divided into 2 sharply pointed lobes

[photo of calyx and flower from the side] 3 or 4 purple-tipped stamens arch over the center of the upper lip. The calyx is bell-shaped, hairy (sometimes glandular) on the outer surface, and has 5 broadly triangular, slightly spreading lobes, the upper 3 lobes typically smaller than the lower 2.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are up to 5 inches long and 2 inches wide, softly hairy, serrated around the edges, usually rounded at the base and taper to a point at the tip, on a stalk up to 5/8 inch long. Leaves are opposite, at right angles to the pair above and below, and often have clusters of a few small leaves in the axils. Stems are square, covered in short hairs and may be branched in the upper plant. Plants can create colonies from spreading rhizomes.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

[photo of fruit] The persistent calyx holds 4 1-seeded nutlets that are nearly fused together.


Germander can be easily confused with Hedge Nettles, (Stachys spp.) also members of the Mint family, the flowers of which do not have a split upper lip. There are 3 recognized varieties of Germander, 2 of which are present in Minnesota: var. occidentale, which has at least some glandular hairs (especially on the calyx) and straight, spreading hairs on the lower leaf surface; var. virginicum has curled or crooked hairs on the lower leaf surface and no glandular hairs.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Anoka, Goodhue and Ramsey counties. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Ken - Roseau County, western edge
on: 2012-07-03 19:19:11

I have a photo of this plant if you would like to see it. I spotted it in a field of CRP on July 2, 2012, in the Greenbush and Karlstad MN, area. I had a tough time at first pinning down the species -- it was driving me crazy. But finally got a solid ID. It's a beautiful plant.

Posted by: Jay - Lake Hiawatha, Minneapolis
on: 2013-07-08 11:14:31

In profuse flower on July 8, 2013 at northeastern end of Lake Hiawatha in the park near the recreational building. Part of the shoreline restoration effort.

Posted by: Kara - Saint Paul, St. Anthony Park
on: 2013-07-14 10:01:12

This came up in a patch of my back yard where I had planted hollyhocks. I had weeded around the seedlings, thinking they were something else, and now they are 2-4 feet tall and in flower. It took two days of scouring the internet for me to finally identify the plants. They're cute, attract bees, and are a nice compliment to the hollyhocks just beginning to bloom.

Posted by: Dale - Regal Meadow East Unit - Nature conservancy site
on: 2014-08-11 09:50:56

Found July 31, 2014. Marshy area. I also have photos.

Posted by: Jean - northern Itasca county
on: 2015-07-11 13:52:12

They dug in the water line last year and it is growing on the wet side of the "hump of dirt". It is only one plant this year and hope it turns into more plants. The hummingbirds have liked the plant a lot. It is about 2 1/2 feet tall.If you want pictures I may be able to get them.Let me know. Thanks.

Posted by: Marylou - Nininger Township, Dakota County
on: 2017-07-07 12:12:50

This plant showed up in one of my gardens this year. It was really helpful to use this site to identify it. Hopefully my hummingbirds will like it also.

Posted by: Sara Brice - Northfield
on: 2020-07-04 12:43:38

Along the grass tread hiking trail leading from the arboretum tunnel to the arb office along Hwy 19.

Posted by: John Farnen - La Crescent, Houston County
on: 2020-07-08 15:35:33

Growing in rather steep, grassy field between my house and woods in full sun. Small colonies with 4-5 stems per colony. Blooming started around 7/1/2020. Stem brittle, square; leaves with faint vegetal odor, bitter taste.

Posted by: Casey vanderBent - Saint Mary's Point
on: 2020-07-24 16:47:03

These have popped up along the roadways all over SMP this year. Lovely coloring and a nice addition to our wildflower mix in the area.

Posted by: Lisa - Pine county
on: 2020-08-23 00:08:45

1 plant so far

Posted by: Grace - Hopkins
on: 2021-07-11 12:38:41

Blooming now

Posted by: sheila - Washington County, St Croix Savannah SNA
on: 2021-07-17 21:03:26

Have nit seen this before, but several blooming plants!

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