E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Physostegia parviflora Nutt. ex A. Gray
purple dragonhead (western false dragonhead)
Lamiaceae (Mint family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #87475)

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Distribution of Physostegia parviflora
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a rhizome or rhizome-like base; stems erect, 20-100 cm tall, simple or branched above, 4-angled, glabrous.
Opposite, lower leaves reduced and deciduous, others linear-oblong to elliptic-oblong, 3-10 cm long, 5-20 mm wide, tips pointed, bases tapered, toothed; unstalked; leaves directly beneath inflorescence lanceolate or narrowly egg-shaped, rounded at base.
Inflorescence of many flowers scattered or crowded in elongate terminal and often axillary spikes, 2-8 cm long; flowers nearly unstalked, each subtended by an entire, more or less egg-shaped bract; corollas funnel-like, with enlarged throat, lavender-purple, 10-16 mm long, 2-lipped, the lips only 3-5 mm long, the upper lip entire, somewhat hood-like, the lower lip spreading, 3-lobed; calyces 4-6 mm long, somewhat inflated, obscurely 10-veined, finely hairy.
Nutlets, 4 clustered together, egg-shaped, smooth.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Marshes, streams and lake margins in the lowland and montane zones; infrequent in BC, S of 54degree N and E of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; N to NT, E to SK and S to NE, MN and OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Physostegia parviflora

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 787 787 787
Slope Gradient (%) 2 2 2
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
200 200 200
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: IDF(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Dracocephalum nuttallii Britton
Physostegia nuttallii (Britt.) Fassett
Physostegia virginiana var. parviflora (Nutt. ex Gray) Boivin

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References