Desert Lavendar

Hyptis emoryi

Hyptis emoryi Watercolor © by Michael Plagens

Watercolor from specimen found in the Buckskin Mts., La Paz Co., Arizona. 06 April 1993.

SHRUB: A large silvery shrub 1 to 3 m tall. Paired twigs and branches alternate 180° between each node.

LEAVES: A silvery mat of soft velvet pubescence covers the new leaves and stems. The leaves are opposite and bear small rounded teeth along the margins. Pungent, but pleasant sage aroma emitted from crushed leaves.

FLOWERS: Dense clusters of buds, small lavender purple flowers, and developing seed capsules at each node of the stems. Flowering virtually any time of the year.


RANGE: Common at essentially all localities in the Arizona Sonoran Desert reaching its largest stature along wash banks. In the drier hills these plants also seem to be more common about the summits along north facing slopes.

Desert Lavender is an important nectar source for butterflies especially the small blues, hairstreaks (Lycaenidae) and metalmarks (Riodinidae). Even during severe droughts this shrub seems to make a point of offering sustenance to bees and other pollinators.

Occasionally these shrubs will be found with blackened stem swellings caused by the rust fungus Puccinia distorta.

Family: Lamiaceae

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More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 6 Nov. 2007,
updated 28 Sept. 2015