Lyreleaf Sage - Salvia lyrata
Lyreleaf sage is a strictly upright, hairy perennial, 1-2 ft. tall with a rosette of leaves at the base. The leaves are deeply 3-lobed, with a few simple leaves higher up on the stem. Large basal leaves are purple-tinged in the winter. This species has the typical square stem and 2-lipped blossom of the mints. Its pale-blue to violet, tubular flowers are arranged in whorls around the stem forming an interrupted, terminal spike. Each blossom is about 1 inch long. The 2-lobed lower lip is much longer than the upper, which has 3 lobes, the middle one forming a sort of hood. The sepals are purplish-brown.
Lyreleaf sage makes a great evergreen groundcover, with somewhat ajuga-like foliage and showy blue flowers in spring. It will reseed easily in loose, sandy soils and can form a solid cover with regular watering. It even takes mowing and can be walked on. The exposed lower lip of this and other salvias provides an excellent landing platform for bees. When a bee lands, the two stamens are tipped, and the insect is doused with pollen.