Veronicastrum virginicum; Scrophulariaceae (figwort family)
Look at that thing standing tall and proud. This was another lucky find in an unexpected place, down a rock scramble close to the river near Carderock. Big damn plant (4 feet tall) that I would never have found if I hadn’t decided “what the heck, go have a look over there”. I love when that happens.
Of course, it was growing in a spot where I couldn’t begin to get close enough for macro shots. I was precariously perched on boulders doing Photographers’ Yoga just to get these shots, but used Lightroom to zoom in on this one:
Culver’s root was named for a physician who used the plant medicinally. It can be found from the Great Plains of North America all the way east to the Atlantic, growing in the sun (or part shade) in rich (or slightly sandy) and moist (or dry) soils. In other words, it’s pretty adaptable and would make a fine garden plant. It is threatened in Massachusetts and New York and endangered in Vermont.
Here’s the USDA fact sheet.
Young and dainty: