Wright's beebrush, more...
[Lippia wrightii A. Gray ex Torr.]
Plant: Shrub 1-2 meters; herbage fragrant Leaves: Shrub 1-2 meters; herbage fragrant; leaves opposite, 1cm, crenate Flowers: inflorescence a terminal or lateral spike; flowers white. References: J.C. Hickman, ed. The Jepson Manual.W.B. McDougal. Seed plants of Northern Arizona. ASU specimens.
Wiggins 1964, Benson and Darrow 1981, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Common Name: Wright's beebrush Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Shrub General: Diffuse branching shrub to 1.5 m tall, about as wide; stems slender, to 2.5 cm in diameter, brittle, bright yellow; bark thin, membranous, peeling in strips; branches and twigs slender, sharply tetragonal, densely grayish-puberulent. Leaves: Opposite, often crowded, on very slender petioles 1-4 mm long; strong-scented; blades small, ovate, 2-15 mm long, 2-13 mm wide, rounded at apex, margins regularly crenulate or crenate-serrate with small rounded teeth; upper surface with strong veins; lower surface densely tomentellous. Flowers: Small and white, in open, leafy panicles composed of many slender, densely-flowered spikes, these 1-4 cm long; calyx tubular, about 2 mm long, densely spreading-hirsute with gray hairs, the rim 4-lobed, with very small, equal lobes; corolla white, the tube glabrous inside and slightly longer than calyx, the limb about 2 mm wide. Fruits: Calyx splits readily at fruit to reveal 2 thin-walled nutlets. Ecology: Found on rocky or gravelly slopes in canyons from 1,500-6,000 ft (457-1829 m); flowers August-October. Distribution: s CA, s UT, AZ, NM, s TX; south to n MEX. Notes: Aloysia wrightii is a slender-stemmed aromatic shrub distinguished by its leaves which are gray-green and opposite with round-toothed margins, white tangled hairs on the lower leaf surface, and strongly impressed veins above; and the terminal, densely-hairy spikes of white flowers. Also note the twigs which are yellowish with a covering of fine gray or white hairs. In Arizona it is abundant mostly below the Mogollon Rim and in the Grand Canyon. It is reported to yield excellent honey, hence the common name beebush. The fragrant leaves are said to be edible and can be used as a replacement for the herb oregano. Ethnobotany: Used to treat headaches, rheumatism, distemper, and gonorrhea; also drunk as a tea. Etymology: Aloysia is an honorific for Maria Louisa Teresa (1751-1819), Princess of Parma, wife of Carlos IV of Spain, while wrightii is named for Charles Wrighti (1811-1885), an American botanical collector who was part of the Mexican boundary survey. Synonyms: Lippia wrightii Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015, AHazelton 2015