nTeucriumlarge widely distributed genus of perennial herbs or shrubs or subshrubs; native to Mediterranean region to western Asia
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
nteucriumA genus of gamopetalous plants, of the order Labiatæ and tribe Ajugoideæ. It is characterized by flowers with a short corolla-tube, a prominent lower lip, the other lobes small and inconspicuous, and the four stamens far exserted from a posterior fissure. It includes almost 100 species, scattered over many temperate and warm regions, especially near the Mediterranean. They are herbs or shrubs of varied habit; the leaves are either entire, toothed, or cut, and the flowers are in axillary clusters, or terminal spikes, racemes, or heads. The species are known in general as germander (which see, and compare poly, and herb mastic, under herb). England and the United States contain each 4 different species, of which T. Canadense, the common American germander, of low open ground and fence-rows from Canada to Texas and Mexico, bears an erect spike of rather conspicuous reddish-purple flowers. T. Cubense, widely distributed from the West Indies, Texas, and California to Buenos Ayres, represents the section of the genus with small solitary flowers in the axils of incised or multifid leaves. The other American species are western or southwestern. Many species were once highly esteemed in medicine, but are now discarded; especially the three following, which are widely dispersed through Europe and Asia: T. Chamædrys, the wall-germander, once used for rheumatism and as a febrifuge; T. Scordium, the water-germander, a creeping marsh-plant with the odor of garlic when bruised, once used as an antiseptic, etc.; and T. Scorodonia, the wood-, garlic-, or mountain-sage, a very bitter plant resembling hops in taste and odor. (See cut under Didynamia, and compare ambrose and scordium.) Many other species have a pleasant fragrance. T. Marum, the cat-thyme, is in use for its scent, and is remarkable as a sternutatory. T. corymbosum of Australia is there known as licorice. T. betonicum, the Madeira betony, with loose spikes of fragrant crimson flowers, and several other species from Madeira, are handsome greenhouse shrubs. T. fruticans, the tree-germander of Spain, and T. racemosum, a dwarf evergreen of Australia, are also occasionally cultivated, and many annual species are showy border-plants.