- Written also: Siberian Dragon’s-head
- Latin synonym: Dracocephalum sibiricum
- Family: Mint Family – Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
- Growing form: Perennial herb.
- Height: 60–80 cm (24–32 in.). Stem short-haired–almost glabrous.
- Flower: Corolla irregular (zygomorphic), dark violet, 25–40 mm (1–1.6 in.) long, over twice as long as calyx, bilabiate, with long, delicate tube. Upper lip 2-lobed, narrow, convex; lower lip 3-lobed, central lobe clearly bigger than lateral lobes. Calyx bilabiate, curved, 5-lobed, 15-veined, partly dark purple. Upper lip 3-lobed, lobes virtually the same size. Stamens 4, of which 2 short and 2 long. Gynoecium composed of 2 fused carpels. Inflorescence spiked; a lax, intermittent whorl.
- Leaves: Opposite, stalked. Leaf blade lanceolate–narrowly ovate, with tapering tips, shallow and blunt or cordate base, and toothed margin.
- Fruit: 4-parted schizocarp.
- Habitat: Gardens, yards, roadsides, waste ground and fields.
- Flowering time: June–August.
The dragonheads are different from the catnips (Nepeta) and ground ivies (Glechoma) in the way that they have a spiked inflorescence and also regarding the details of the structure of the flower. In many specific cases however the line between the species is not so clear: Siberian dragonhead, which is cultivated as an ornamental and grows wild casually in Finland, is classified especially in old literature as a catnip Nepeta sibirica. It is generally reminiscent of many catnips, but from the details of the flowers it is clearly a dragonhead. The scientific name of the genus Dracocephalum refers to the typical form of dragonhead’s flower. It is comprised of the Greek words drakón, ’dragon’ and kefalé, ’head’ – a close look reveals that, in a certain light, the flower brings a dragon’s head to mind.
No dragonheads are native to Finland, but a few species are more or less established in Finland in the wild, and species that are cultivated as ornamentals sometimes escape. Siberian dragonhead is a tough survivor and grows for a long time wherever it is planted or has taken root.
Also northern dragonhead is cultivated in Finnish gardens. It’s easy to differentiate between the species, for instance from the leaves: northern dragonhead’s are linear and entire, while Siberian dragonhead’s are broader and serrated.