Wood sage is a member of the Mint family, or Labiatae, meaning the Lipped Ones. Most members of the family, a very large one and very diverse in form, yet always unmistakably mints, have a four-sided, squarish stem. Their leaves are opposite, the flowers intricately constructed with a tube and a flaring lip. Usually there are five parts to the corolla, with two parts above and three below, but varied by innumerable plans of fluting, laciness, or color. The stamens are inserted on the tube of the corolla, and the pistil usually curves with the curve of the tube, arches under the two upper corolla parts, and protrudes with a double lobe at the end. This neatly comes in contact with pollen on the fuzzy back of a small bee or other insect which has gone into another mint flower for nectar and has had pollen brushed upon its back. The insect enters head first, eager for the nectar at the bottom of the tube. The pistil is encountered first; this removes pollen from the bee's back. The insect pushes further in and gets its nectar, and in backing out comes in contact with the low-hung stamens full of pollen. This is carried to another flower.
Teucrium canadense L.
June - July Along railroads, in moist fields. Woods.
Wood sage has the characteristics of the family - a tall, stiff, greyish, four-angled stem, and a degree of aromatic quality, but not as much as some other mints. The leaves are thick, finely toothed, opposite, and the stem terminates in a long, tapering wand of pale lavender-pink flowers whose throats have deeper pink or red speckles and guide lines. The buds further up the spire are arranged systematically, like a pagoda. The flowers begin to bloom from below, but the entire stalk seldom is in bloom all at once. Wood sage grows in woods and lowlands and blooms abundantly most of the summer.