American Germander, Canada Germander, Hairy Germander, Wood Sage
(Teucrium candense var. canadense)
Synonyms of Teucrium canadense var. canadense (16) (Updated on 1-2-23 from Plants of the World Online): Scorodonia macrophylla Moench, Teucrium bracteosum Raf., Teucrium canadense f. albiflorum House, Teucrium canadense var. angustatum A.Gray, Teucrium canadense var. littorale Fernald, Teucrium cinereum Raf., Teucrium lanceolatum Raf. & Collins, Teucrium littorale E.P.Bicknell, Teucrium menthifolium E.P.Bicknell, Teucrium mexicanum Sessé & Moc., Teucrium occidentalis var. menthifolium (E.P.Bicknell) Farw., Teucrium petiolare Raf., Teucrium riparium Raf., Teucrium roseum E.P.Bicknell, Teucrium speciosum Hill, Teucrium undulatum Raf.
Teucrium canadense L. is the accepted scientific name for this species of Teucrium. The genus and species were named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the second volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
Accepted infraspecific names (4): Teucrium canadense var. canadense, Teucrium canadense var. hypoleucum Griseb., Teucrium canadense var. occidentale (A.Gray) E.M.McClint. & Epling, Teucrium canadense var. virginicum (L.) Eaton. When an infraspecific taxon is named, an autonym (“type-specimen”) is automatically generated whose description is closest to the (original) species. All have their own list of synonyms. It is highly likely the species here on the farm is Teucrium canadense var. canadense.
As of 1-2-23 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 289 species in the Teucrium genus. It is a member of the plant family Lamiaceae with 232 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made by POWO.
The above distribution map for Teucrium canadense is from the USDA Plants Database. Areas in green show where the species is native and includes all 4 varieties (actually 3 on USDA). To find maps for all the varieties click HERE even though the maps may not jive with other websites. The map on Plants of the World Online doesn’t show as wide a range and needs to be updated but includes northern Mexico and Cuba. POWO normally gets their maps from Flora of North America but that site doesn’t include the plant family Lamiaceae yet. POWO will update its map for this species when FNA is finished with the family. No map is perfect and most are from old data, but they do give a general idea.
The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations. The maps on iNaturalist are continually updated as members post new observations.
THERE ARE SEVERAL LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND TO HELP WITH A BETTER POSITIVE ID.
I first identified the Teucrium canadense from a large colony I found growing on the south side of a brush pile in the back of the farm in 2018. It was quite a sight and the colony was in full bloom. That colony kind of fizzled out, but I found anther good-sized colony in the south hayfield in 2021, then a few late in the year behind the pond in the front pasture in 2022.
Teucrium canadense is a perennial wildflower with a fibrous root system and stout, square stems. It is easily identified by peculiar flowers which are complicated to explain. Teucrium canadense var. canadense is found scattered across Missouri and most of the eastern half of the United States plus Arizona and New Mexico, northern Mexico, Cuba, and a few provinces in Canada. Some states have many observations, while others have just a few. If you zoom on the USDA maps, you will notice many states say no county data given… Hmmm…
They grow the best in moist, fertile loamy soil in full to part sun. If there is a dry period, they may wilt and stop flowering until sufficient moisture returns.
Plants grow from 2-3’ tall or so on square stems that grow from rhizomes. They produce a strong central stem and normally branch out along the upper half of the plant above the leaf axils. Both the main stem and branches are moderately to densely pubescent with short, downward-facing hairs and/or longer spreading hairs.
The leaves grow in pairs in an opposite manner along the stems. They are up to 5” long and 2 1/2” across, lanceolate to ovate, broadly lanceolate, oblong-lanceolate, and are finely to coarsely toothed. The tips are sharply pointed while the bases are angled or more rounded. The lower leaves have petioles (leaf stems) that are approximately 1/2” long while the upper leaves are sessile (no petioles). The pairs of leaves are decussate, which means they are rotated 90° from one pair to the next. At most leaf nodes, another pair of leaves emerge from the axils of the petioles of the older leaf. The upper (adaxial) surface of the leaves are dark green, have short-appressed hairs, and recessed veins. The under surface (abaxial) has short curved or longer, straight wooly hairs and is a lighter green.
The main stems and side branches terminate with dense, spikelike racemes with 2-6 crowded flowers per node.
The flowers are complicated to explain but I’ll give it a shot… Let’s begin with the calyces which surrounds the flowers first. They are kind of bell-shaped, hairy, and said to be finely 10-nerved, are 2-lipped, have 3 small triangular upper teeth, have 2 smaller, broader lower teeth, and are attached to the stem by a short peduncle (flower stem).
I found another large colony of Teucrium canadense along the edge of the south hayfield in 2021. The area had grown up in blackberry briars and small trees but they were cut down in the fall of 2020. That allowed many wildflower species to grow that had been previously hidden.
The funnelform corollas can be white, purple to light lavender, pinkish-purple, and can have darker spots or streaks on the lower lobe (lip). The surface of the corolla is moderately pubescent with short, gland-tipped hairs. I read descriptions of the flowers from four websites and they definitely have their own opinions about the lips… There are either 2 lips and 5 lobes or 5 lips. But, that would be weird because some say there are five lips, the upper being “greatly reduced” then go on to explain 5 lips. Hmmm… That would make 6. Personally, I kind of agree with the 2-lipped and 5 lobed theory.
The upper lip is greatly reduced to the point that it appears absent. Hmmm… Maybe that is because there is none. To be honest, I have not examined the lips with a magnifying glass or dissected the flowers. I think there are enough flowers on a plant it could spare 1 or 2, so I think I will do that in 2023.
From what I gather from the photos, especially from the above close-up from Mr. Davis, the entire lower portion is connected. The lower lip is attached to the middle pair and is broad (spoon-shaped), arched downward, then curves upward. Apparently, this broad lip serves as a landing pad for insects. It reminds me of a diving board. The other two pairs are called ‘lateral lobes”, one site referring to them as “extensions.” I am not going to describe the lateral lobes because I am already bald and beginning to get a headache. Terms used are upward, downward, and backward…
The male parts include 4 exerted and arching stamens with whitish filaments that are topped with small yellowish anthers. The female pistol includes a shallowly-lobed ovary, with a very long, curved style with a split stigma.
Many thanks to Link Davis, a fellow member of iNaturalist, for allowing me to use his great photo. Mr. Davis has been a member since 2020, and as of March 4 in 2023, has submitted 25,253 observations. I am sure that number will increase.
I will continue to take more photos of the Teucrium canadense as time goes by. I need more close-ups… Practice makes perfect. 🙂
There are a few more photos at the bottom of the page that were taken in 2021 and August in 2022.
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the family farm and in other areas. The farm is in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street, and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and identified over 250 species of wildflowers (most have pages listed on the right side of the page). I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing, and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a few horticulturalists I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.
I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
FLORA OF MISSOURI (SPECIES)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN
MSU-MIDWEST WEEDS AND WILDFLOWERS
ARKANSAS NATIVE PLANT SOCIETY
KANSAS WILDFLOWERS AND GRASSES
PFAF(PLANTS FOR A FUTURE)
LADY BIRD JOHNSON WILDFLOWER CENTER
FRIENDS OF THE WILDFLOWER GARDEN
MARYLAND BIODIVERSITY PROJECT
UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON-BURKE HERBARIUM
MONTANA FIELD GUIDE
NOTE: The data (figures, maps, accepted names, etc.) may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates. Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. Some of the links may use a name that is a synonym on other sites. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates “at least” once a year and when I write new pages or add new photos but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂