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For Your Garden - September 2011

Native plants provide beauty as well as food and shelter for wildlife. Native species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insects and most diseases. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year. Consider adding a few native plant species to your garden!

false dragonhead (Physostegia virginiana)

False dragonhead is also known as obedience plant. It is found throughout Illinois in moist areas, particularly in wet prairie soils. It flowers from May through September. The flowers are produced in a spike at the top of a stem. Flowers vary in color but usually have a pink or red shade to them. The funnel-shaped flower looks something like a dragon's head, which is how the plant received its common name. The term "obedience plant" has been applied because if a flower is pushed to one side, it will stay there. This plant will grow to a height of one to five feet. As a member of the mint family, it has a square stem. The leaves are arranged oppositely along the stem.

Classification and taxonomy are based on Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 2014. Vascular flora of Illinois: A field guide. Fourth edition. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 536 pp.

Illinois Range

Native Plant Information

For more information about Illinois native plants, visit our Native Habitat Descriptions, Requirements, and Plant Lists page. The following publications are available from the IDNR on our publications page.


​Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae

Illinois Status: common, native