rounded habit, usually under 40-60cm in height and spread but sometimes larger. Leaves l-4cm long, linear to oblong-lanceolate, usually lightly grey-felted. Flowers purple to deeply so, in fat, blunt, short-stemmed spikes 2-3cm long tipped by a tuft of prominent purple bracts, summer to autumn. Mediterranean region and Portugal, from sea level to about 700m on open limestone and granite slopes, among scrub and open pine forest. A variable species as regards hardiness, stature, length of flower spike and stem and calyx characters. Of the six recognised subspecies the fol lowing are horticulturally distinct: L.s. subsp. pedunculata (syn. L. pedunculata) has the flowering stems longer than the spikes (in stoechas itself the stems are shorter than the spikes). Subsp. lusitanica has very short fat spikes never more than twice as long as wide.