Crooked Run Valley
Canada germander (Teucrium canadense)
SCIENTIFIC SYNONYMS: There are no scientific synonyms for Teucrium canadense.
TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name of Canada
germander is Teucrium canadense L. There are three accepted varieties
of Teucrium canadense: 1) variety canadense, 2) variety hypoleucum,
and 3) variety occidentale. Varieties canadense and occidentale have been reported occurring in Virginia. Variety canadense is describe below.
NATIVE STATUS: Native, United States and Canada.
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Habit: Canada germander is an erect native perennial forb growing 1 to 3 feet in height on unbranched stout, hollow, 4-angled stems which are covered with short, dense hairs.
Leaves: The inflorescence is a dense terminal spike with a conical cluster of flowers. 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. The vein pattern is reticulated and deeply etched. Upper surfaces may be smooth or with fine hair, the underside with dense fine hair.
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 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. Flowers lack fragrance.
Fruit/Seed: Flowers give way to rounded yellowish-brown seeds (nutlets). Fertile flowers produce 4 round nutlets held by the 3 upper teeth and 2 lower teeth of the calyx. These are dispensed when mature.
Roots: Plants can create colonies from spreading rhizomes.
REGENERATION PROCESS: Canada germander has a rhizomatous root system and can spread vegetatively in addition to re-seeding. Can be aggressive in optimum growing conditions to form large colonies.
HABITAT TYPES: Canada germander is mostly found in moist to wet sites with some shade. Habitats include moist woods, stream banks, meadows, prairies, bottomland, thickets, marshes, seeps, abandoned fields, ditches; also cultivated as an ornamental.
SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Canada germander is mostly grows in moist, fertile, well-drained soils in full sun although it can tolerate partial shade. It has some tolerance for poorly-drained soils; it does not flourish in dry soils.
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: Canada germander blooms from mid June to September.
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Combined, all three varieties of Canada germander occur throughtout most of the United States and Canada (except the provinces of Alberta and Newfoundland, and the northern
provinces). Variety canadense is found throughout the United States
except for the Rocky Mountain states and Pacific Coast states, and any
province west of Ontario.
SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION: To be determined.
IMPORTANCE AND USES: Native Americans used the leaves to make medicinal teas. Leaves were also steeped in water for use in healing sores and ulcers of the skin. The use of species of germander has an acient history. The genus name honors Teucher, the first king of Troy, who first used one of the species in medicine to relieve stomach pain and gout.