Agalinis Purpurea

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In the Craven County area, late September brings cooler temperatures and a wide array of colorful flowering herbs (or non-woody plants). Agalinis purpurea (false foxglove) provides a great example of this welcome seasonal color. There are a number of Agalinis species in the state, but this one can be confidently identified by characteristics such as foliage, pedicels (flower stalks), branching habit and relatively wide distribution across the region.

With the exception of A. linifolia, Agilinis species are classified as a hemiparasitic group, “with roots attaching to diverse plants, especially graminoids” (University of Michigan). A hemiparasite carries out photosynthesis, but also obtains some of its nutritional requirement from other plants.

See the following images for examples of Agalinis purpurea ID characteristics.

Agalinis purpurea

Note the two yellow lines inside the corolla throat; this separates Agalinis purpurea and other Agilinis species from A. linifolia.

Linear leaves

In this image we see the linear leaves up to 4 cm long; the branching habit, which separates A. purpurea from A. virgata; the squarish stem; and the light coating of gravel dust on the Agalinis and surrounding roadside vegetation.

Pedicel (flower stalk)

Another important characteristic of A. purpurea is that the pedicel (flower stalk) is shorter than
the calyx tube that covers and protects the unopened flower.