Wild Flowers of Pittsburgh

Wild Basil (Satureja vulgaris)

A hairy and aromatic little mint that likes open woods, and is not above popping up in a shaded lawn, as this one did near Normalville. It’s a close relative of Summer and Winter Savory. The flowers are a delightfully pure shade of pink, hard to reproduce exactly in a photograph.

Gray describes the genus and the species:

SATURÈJA [Tourn.] L. SAVORY, CALAMINT. Calyx tubular to bell-shaped, 10-13-nerved, naked or hairy in the throat. Corolla with a straight tube and an inflated throat, distinctly 2-lipped; the upper lip erect, flattish, entire or notched; the lower spreading, 3-parted, the middle lobe usually largest. Stamens 4, somewhat ascending. — Herbs or shrubs, with mostly purplish or whitish flowers produced all summer; inflorescence various. (The ancient Latin name.) Including Clinopodium L., Calamintha Lam.

Flowers in sessile dense many-flowered clusters, and involucrate with conspicuous setaceous-subulate bracts; calyx nearly naked in the throat.

6. S. vulgàris (L.) Fritsch. (basil.) Hairy, erect, 2-6 dm. high; leaves ovate, petioled, nearly entire; flowers lavender to pink, in globular clusters; hairy bracts as long as the calyx. (Clinopodium L.; Calamintha Clinopodium Benth.) —Woods, thickets, and alluvial banks, Nfd. to Va., О., Ind., and Man. (Eurasia.)

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