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This perennial plant is up to 3' tall, branching occasionally from the lower half of the central stem. This central stem is strongly winged and hairless. The leaves are alternate in the upper half of the central stem and opposite from each other in the lower half; they are usually alternate in the smaller side stems. The leaves are up to 3½" long and 1½" across, becoming gradually smaller as they ascend the stems. They are hairless, ovate or lanceolate, smooth along their margins, and sessile. The inflorescence consists of a tall narrow spike up to 1½' long. One or two flowers develop from individual axils of small leafy bracts, which are crowded together along the spike. Each flower is about ½" across or slightly larger, and its corolla is pale lavender to purple. The corolla has six narrow lobes that spread outward from a tubular calyx; each lobe has a fine line of dark purple that leads to the throat of the flower. The calyx is light green to purplish green with 6 lanceolate teeth. Reproductive organs consist of 6 stamens and a pistil with a single style; the style may, or may not, be exerted. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late summer, and lasts about 1-2 months. There is no noticeable floral scent. The root system is rhizomatous. The tiny seeds can be carried a considerable distance by wind or water.