Range: New Brunswick and Quebec to Minnesota, southward to Georgia and Kansas. Habitat: Roadsides, neglected farmyards, waste places.
This herb was formerly much used as a tonic and home remedy for disordered nerves. It is still quoted in the drug market at three to eight cents a pound, the leaves and the flowering tops being the parts used, collected when in full flower.
Stem one to three feet high, erect, rather stout, square, downy-hairy, and much branched. Leaves opposite, ovate or oblong heart-shaped, light green above, downy beneath, deeply scallop-toothed, with slender petioles. Flowers in terminal spikes one to four inches long, subtended by small, narrow bracts; corolla pale lilac or white, with pale purple dots, the tube dilated in the throat and the broad middle lobe of the lower lip finely scalloped; the stamens ascending under the upper lip, the lower pair the shorter; calyx downy, five-toothed, persistent, containing the four nutlets, which are ovoid, slightly flattened, smooth, and brown. (Fig. 243.)
Cats are very fond of the plant and a few stalks grown for the family pet may be welcome; but patches of the weed about farmyards make a slovenly appearance and should be grubbed out. Roadside and waste-land growth should be cut when beginning to bloom.