This flower reminded me of Darth Vader, with that Helmet! HEY! I wonder if this is where they got the IDEA for Darth Vader’s helmet!
Austin, Tx., USA, April, 2012
You will not see this plant outside of a few counties in Texas, because it is endemic to the limestone hills (where I happen to live) of Central Texas, per Wikipedia. I did have to search a bit to find the identification. At first I thought it was Skullcap, because the blooms bears a striking resemblance to that plant, though they are much larger, and the leaves are very different. They are both of the Mint family, which probably accounts for the similarities. But it is unique to the limestone hills here and will not be found any other place.
Salvia engelmannii Gray
Engelmann’s sage, Engelmann’s salvia
Lamiaceae (Mint Family)
USDA Symbol: SAEN2
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Engelmanns sage is a 1-1 1/2 ft compact mound of velvety, narrow leaves and showy flower spikes. Pale lavender, tubular flowers occur on 4-6 in. spikes.
A plant with many names, this is an herb used for many medicinal purposes, especially those related to nervous disorders.
Common Names: Blue Pimpernel, Blue Skullcap, Helmet Flower, Hoodwort, Mad-dog Weed, Mad Weed, Quaker Bonnet, Side-flowering Skullcap, Virginian Skullcap
The entire herb is used in treating a wide and amazing variety of disorders, all listed on the above website. The same web site also defined the actions of this plant as:antispasmodicastringentdiureticnervinesedativetonic