Interesting Plant: Wallaces Pitcher Plant (Lepechinia fragrans)

Interesting Plant: Wallaces Pitcher Plant (Lepechinia fragrans)

By Stan Shebs, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

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Lepechinia fragrans is endemic to California. It is found in open areas in chaparral, in dry ravines, on rocky slopes and ridgetops, between 60 and 1100 meters. It is known in the Trifuno Pass area of the Santa Monica Mountains and in the San Gabriel Mountains, as well as the north Channel Islands. It may also exist in Ventura County and areas on the south coast below Los Angeles County, California.

It is threatened by development and by fire management. While it is not listed as a threatened or endangered plant by the State of California or by the U.S. federal government, it is listed by the California Native Plant Society as a plant of limited distribution which is fairly endangered and should be watched.[1]

Lepechinia fragrans is a vase-shaped herbaceous shrub from 60 centimeters to just under 2 meters in height and equal in spread. It tends to grow taller in shade, and somewhat shorter in full sun. The plant itself is light green, but the many hairs give it a fuzzy grayish-green appearance. The entire plant is hairy, with long nonglandular hairs and glands which have short or no stalks. It has a pleasant scent which may be released when the glands are touched. Its arching branches become woody toward the base of the plant. It has the square stems of the mint family, which are very pronounced in this species.

The leaves can be deltate-lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, and are smooth-edged or slightly serrate. The lower ones are petioled below and generally larger, to 12 centimeters. Upper leaves can lack petioles and are generally smaller, as little as 4 centimeters in length. Like many of California’s plants, it has two types of leaves. Larger, lusher leaves are produced during the rainy season in winter, and some of these are shed during the dry season, and are replaced by leaves which are smaller and more gray in color

The flowers range in color from white to pale pink to medium purple. The calyx has 5 lobes and is slightly two-lipped. It is persistent in fruit and enlarges, becoming slightly inflated and turning purple. The corolla is bell-shaped and 2.5 to 3 centimeters long. It is also two-lipped, with the upper lip divided into 4 lobes, and a larger, unlobed lower lip. There are two pairs of stamens and a double-lobed style in the flower’s throat.

The fruit is a cluster of four smooth to shiny nutlets which are dark brown to black in color. They are round to ovate, with a length of 2 to 4 millimeters. — Wikipedia

More information on Wallaces Pitcher Plant (Lepechinia fragrans) :

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Interesting Plant is a series from A Gardener’s Notebook blog and podcast that highlights the most interesting plants I find in my Internet and real-world travels — Douglas