I was given a small, mystery plant in Autumn 2010, and popped it in the ground at the top a bank, not knowing what to expect. Luckily this well-drained sunny position suited it down to a ‘t’ and it has since flourished, proliferating vigorously, and above all it turns out to be quite the bee magnet – attracting the attention of the honey bees and bumblebees.
It is a mediterranean native with downy grey-green, aromatic foliage. The flower is interesting and intricate – icy blue petals with deep purple veins, sporting great-reaching, show-off stamen, designed perfectly to rub themselves sneakily on the bee’s back as they get on with the business of sucking up nectar.
Teucrium was named for Teucer, the legendary first king of Troy who pioneered use of these plants as medicinals. He was a great archer and fought alongside his half-brother Ajax in the Trojan War. Fruticans, more banally, means shrubby.