Much like no. 1 [Phyla lanceolata (Michx.) Greene], but the lvs spatulate to obovate or elliptic-obovate, generally broadest a little above the middle, mostly rounded or obtuse at the tip and narrowed to a cuneiform, petiolar or subpetiolar base, often toothed only above the middle; 2n=36. Moist soil in many habitats, especially in disturbed sites; pantropical, n. in Amer. to Va. and Calif., rarely further. May-Oct. (Lippia n.)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
Correll and Johnston 1970, Allred and Ivey 2012, Martin and Hutchins 1980, Heil et al. 2013
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Non-native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Creeping, mat-forming perennial herb, 5-15 cm tall; stems decumbent and trailing along the ground, to 90 cm long, rooting at the nodes. Leaves: Opposite along the stems; blades spatulate to obovate, mostly about 2 cm long and 1 cm wide, thick-textured, sharply and regulary serrate near the apex and wedge-shaped at the base, usually tapering into a short petiole; leaf surfaces glabrous or strigollose-puberulent. Flowers: Tiny but attractive and purple, tightly clustered in dense globose to cylindric spikes, 2 cm tall; spikes located at the tips of ascending axillary peduncles which are longer than the leaves; each flower subtended by a cuneate-obovate bractlet; corolla bell-shaped, 5-lobed, and obscurely 2-lipped, 2-3 mm long, slightly longer than the subtending bractlet, purple to rose or occasionally white, often with a yellow center. Fruits: Nutlets 2 per flower, enclosed in the persistent calyx. Ecology: Found in moist, typically disturbed soils, from 3,000-6,500 ft; flowers March-September. Distribution: Native to S. Amer.; introduced to w N. Amer. from MO and CO to s CA, south to MEX. Notes: This weedy perennial can often be found on roadsides, along railroad tracks, and other similarly disturbed locations. The stems trail along the ground and root at the nodes; the pairs of wedge-shaped leaves have rounded tips lined with small, regularly-spaced teeth; and the tiny purple-and-white flowers are clustered in small heads at the ends of flower stalks that ascend above the leaves. P. cuneifolia is similar but has narrower, lanceolate leaves with a few larger, irregularly spaced teeth near the tips; also in that species the bracts that subtend each flower are larger, 5 mm long and 3 mm wide, with an abruptly pointed tip that curls backward at maturity. Ethnobotany: The Houma tribe of Louisiana used a decoction of the plant as a wash to make weak, lazy babies walk. Etymology: Phyla is from the Greek word phyle, clan or tribe, alluding to the many flowers per spike; nodiflora means flowers from the nodes. Synonyms: Lippia nodiflora, Zappania nodiflora Editor: AHazelton 2017