Perennial herb 0.3 - 1 m tall Stem: erect, unbranched or few-branched. Leaves: opposite, bright green, 6 - 15 cm long, egg-shaped and tapering to a slender tip, toothed, sparsely hairy. The leafstalks reach 5 cm long on the lower leaves, but become increasingly shorter and finally stalkless near the top of the plant. Inflorescence: terminal or in the upper leaf axils, spike-like, slender, elongated. Flowers: opposite and perpendicular to stalk, subtended by three small awl-shaped bracts, having a two-lipped calyx with three awl-shaped upper lobes about as long as the tube and two short broad-triangular lower lobes. The corolla is pale purple to white, 6 - 8 mm across, with a straight upper lip that is shallowly notched at the tip and a much longer, spreading, three-lobed lower lip. Fruit: a one-seeded, oblong, dry achene surrounded by the persistent calyx. The calyx is strongly ribbed and reflexed, with the upper lobes hardened and hooked at the tip.
Similar species: Phryma leptostachya is unique in our flora and is easily identified by its opposite flowers and fruit. Additionally, the fruit is a single elongated achene surrounded by a strongly reflexed calyx.
Flowering: late June to early September
Habitat and ecology: Common in woods, usually where there has been a disturbance.
Occurence in the Chicago region: native
Etymology: The derivation of Phryma is unknown. Leptostachya means slender-spiked.
Author: The Morton Arboretum
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
This plant prefers beech and sugar maple woods and is less frequent in black and white oak woods. Infrequent to frequent in woodland with deep leaf mold. Found throughout the state although there are no records for the area near Lake Michigan.
Erect, 5-10 dm, simple or with a few divergent branches; lower petioles to 5 cm, the upper shorter or the uppermost lvs sessile; lvs ovate, 6-15 cm; fls opposite and horizontal, pale purple to white, 6-8 mm, each subtended by 3 small subulate bracts; cal to 1 cm in fr; 2n=28. Moist woods; Que. to Man., s. to Fla. and Tex.; e. Asia. June-Aug.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.