Plant of the day: serpentine monardella

Did you ever have a toy troll as a kid? Probably not, but for some reason blooming monardella remind me of those little plastic creatures with a fantastic tuft of colorful hair. If only they came in green, the image would be complete!

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All mondardella species look very much alike at first glance: a crown-like tuft of small purple flowers perches atop a mounded head of buds. The leaves are the easiest way to distinguish serpentine monardella (Monardella purpurea) from its more common cousin, coyote mint. Serpentine monardella has hairless, glossy leaves with shallow veins. The veins of coyote mint are stamped deeply into the flesh of the slightly- to very-hairy leaf, as if by a heavy weight.Monardella_purpurea-4

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