Singapore Government Logo

A Singapore Government Agency Website


Physostegia virginiana (L.) Benth.

Family Name: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Common Name: Obedient Plant, False Dragonhead
Full Sun: 6-8h Moderate Water Bird-Attracting Ornamental Flowers Herbaceous


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution North America
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Temperate
Local Conservation Status Exotic

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form A herbaceous and rhizomatous perennial that grows up to 1.2 m tall. Plant tends to form clumps.
Roots Shallow roots.
Foliage Oppositely arranged leaves, narrow-lanceolate in shape. Leaves have sharp toothed margin.
Stems Squarish stems, rhizomatous.
Flowers Flowers are borne in cluster called as spike inflorescence growing to about 45 cm long. Flowers will bloom from bottom to the top of the inflorescence. Each flower is lilac to pink, tubular and has 5 lobes: with two lobes forming the upper lip, and three forming a lower lip.  
Habitat In its natural habitat, it is found in open meadows, stream banks, and in prairies.
Cultivation Plants can be propagated by root division. Taller plant may require staking.
Etymology The genus Physostegia means inflated-cover, which refers to the inflated calyx. The specific epithet virginiana means from Virginia, USA that shows the native range for this plant.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping If the flowers are bent, they tend to stay in that new position for some time, hence the common name, Obedient Plant.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Flowerbed / Border

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting (Flowers)
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Potential Problems No serious pests or disease problems. However, watch for aphids or spider mites.


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate)
Foliar Margin Serrate / Toothed
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Acute

Non - Foliar and Storage

Root Type Underground

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Pink
Flower Texture(s) Smooth
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Bilateral
Individual Flower Shape Tubular
Inflorescence Type Spike

Image Repository



Master ID 33634
Species ID 8048
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 17 February 2021.