This plant is flowering in our garden. The leaves are gray/green. It has small spikes of purple flowers all over, which are a few inches tall.

It has a peculiarly rich smell which I rather love, but my son and wife think it stinks. She described it as "skunky".

What is it?

Our location is temperate coastal California: Sunset zone 16, USDA Hardiness zone 10a, Köppen zone Csb.

Photograph of plant

  • This one's driving me mad, no idea what it is, leaves like Kalanchoe millotii, flower spikes similar to French lavender. More clues please, like how tall and wide is it? No idea of scale from this image
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 17:21
  • @Bamboo it's from about 20-40 cm tall and one meter in diameter. By far the most odorous plant in the garden. Would more pictures help? Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 4:41
  • In which country and climate area do you live?
    – NaniBly
    Commented Jul 15, 2017 at 18:33
  • We have a very similar plant here in the UK, we use for getting rid of cats off beds and it stinks! its got a leaf very much like to one above and the flower- very rarely flowers is pretty close too- can't remember what's it called though- used for bedding over here, used as an annual or as a house plant....bugger, can't place a name on it!
    – olantigh
    Commented Jul 15, 2017 at 19:34

3 Answers 3


I just found out that the plant is Plectranthus neochilus. A nearby nursery also calls its aroma "skunky"!

  • 1
    Aaron, thanks for letting us know what it is, now that you know the identification. I have a bunch of them growing wild, and we've often wondered if there was a skunk in the yard! Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 21:55

Any chance it is Mojave sage? The google image search shows plants that look similar to what you have, and I imagine it would have a sage-like smell, which some would like and some would not.

The leaves look a little different in this picture, but the flowers look very similar: http://www.highcountrygardens.com/perennial-plants/salvia/salvia-pachyphylla-mulberry-flambe

  • You may be on to something, it does look like the other sages. I don't see an exact match online but it definitely looks related. Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 16:56
  • This indeed could be right
    – J. Chomel
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 6:56

I think it’s Plectranthus caninus (Dogbane)

  • 1
    Please edit your answer to describe the characteristics of the plant that led you to this identification. See How to Answer for more information about what makes an answer useful, not just to the OP but anyone else that's trying to identify a similar plant. Thanks and welcome to the site!
    – Niall C.
    Commented Oct 10, 2020 at 15:00

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