Scientific: Hyptis emoryi (Synonyms: Condea emoryi, Mesosphaerum emoryi)
Taxonomic clarification: The genus name for desert lavender is "officially accepted" nearly equally in the scientific literature as either Hyptis [Rep. Colorado R. 4: 20 (1861)] or Condea [Phytotaxa 58:16 (2012)].
Common: desert lavender
Origin: Arid desert washes of Arizona, southern Nevada and southeast California and Sonora, Mexico.
Pronounciation: HIP-tus e-MOR-ee-i
Sunset 10, 12-13
USDA 8-10 (arid and semi arid regions only)
Landscape Use: Used principally as a background informal hedge or accent shrub in desert gardens.
Form & Character: Upright, with a regular stiff and brittle branching habit, arid, gray, recessive.
Growth Habit: Mostly evergreen, herbaceous to semi-woody perennial, moderately upright to 10-feet tall with an equal spread. Growth rate markedly increased by applications of supplemental water.
Foliage/Texture: Small, oval gray highly pubescent leaves (wooly) with crenate margins, fragrant when crushed; medium texture.
Flowers & Fruits: Terminal and axillary clusters of small purple flowers, attract butterflies and bees; fruit inconspicuous nutlets, brown at maturity.
Seasonal Color: Desert lavender can bloom repeatedly throughout the warm season in irrigated landscapes.
Temperature: Obviously highly adapted to hot desert climates.
Light: Full sun, tolerant of reflected heat.
Soil: Well drained soil is required.
Watering: Needs only some supplemental water during summer heat. Desert lavender can become rangy and leggy in appearance if over irrigated.
Pruning: Lightly head back or shear in late winter to promote a more regular shape and denser foliar canopy.
Propagation: Seed, cutting
Disease and Pests: None
Additional comments: This is a rarely used shrub in Phoenix landscapes reserved exclusively for xeric and desert landcsape settings. Crush the leaves in your fingers to smell its wonderful fragrance, a heavy sage-like scent. The flowers are attractive to bees. Hyptis is a genus of about 400 species, mostly in tropical regions around the world.
Ethno-biomedical uses: Desert lavendar has been found to attenuate nerve related pain. The leaves are used to brew herbal teas.