Agastache is a relatively small genus in the Lamiaceae (Mint family); mostly North American except a single species in Asia and Russia (A. rugosa). These are aromatic ornamental herbaceous perennials or subshrubs, the best and showiest ones from southwestern USA and Mexico. They have become one of my favorite genera for a number of reasons; the foliage is light, non-smothering, and aromatic, they bloom all summer long and into fall, flower color runs the gamut from hot southwestern colors (orange, reds, hot pinks) to blues and lavender, and the blooms are highly attractive to hummingbirds. Many colorful multi-color hybrids have been introduced over the past several years.
I start out with the variable Agastache rupestris (threadleaf giant hyssop), from Arizona and New Mexico. http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=AGRUIt makes a shrubby base and a mass of fine stems with silvery linear willow-like leaves, said to smell of licorice or root-beer but more akin to an intense resinous aroma to my sensibility. Starting in midsummer there is an endless profusion of reddish to orange trumpet-shaped flowers, the purplish involucres adding to the overall effect, lasting into autumn. Hummingbirds are highly amused. The plants are perennial but short-lived, lasting 2-4 years, then fading away, but seedlings do show up. Most photos shown here are taken in August and September, a most valuable time for such colorful bloom.
Two views of 2-year shrubs, with very fine filigree of foliage and flowers. The second view also shows a mound of the annual blue-flowered Trichostema dichotomum, with sticky resinous foliage.
Two more photos; the left photo showing a close-up of the blooms on Agastache rupestris, and the right photo is a garden scene showing a nice specimen of A. rupestris on the right, and the brighter orange-flowered Agastache aurantiaca in the lower left. The latter species is from Northern Mexico, although some web sites erroneously report is is also from southwestern USA.
On the left is a photo of A. aurantiaca, less shrubby than A. rupestris, with more open growth, deltoid (triangular shaped) leaves that are irregularly toothed and similarly aromatic to the touch, and open larger-flowered sprays of beautiful medium orange flowers. On the right is another vantage point showing both species, and me (in my heavier weight days) with a strange celestial beam of light shining upon me... I assure you it was just a fluke. ;D