Pycnanthemum virginianum (Virginia Mountain Mint)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; fields, prairies, thickets, fens|
|Bloom season:||July - September|
|Plant height:||1 to 3 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FAC MW: FACW NCNE: FACW|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are densely packed in flat clusters about 1 inch across at the top of the plant, and at the end of stems branching from the upper leaf axils. Only a few flowers in a cluster are in bloom at one time. Individual flowers are about ¼ inch across and tubular with 2 lips. The upper lip has 2 lobes, but may look like 1. The lower lip has 3 lobes all about the same size. Color is white with purple spots. Inside the tube are 4 stamens with white tips that turn brown with age; the outside of the tube is covered in fine hairs.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are up to 2½ inches long and ½ inch wide, toothless and hairless, tapering to a pointed tip, with a slightly rounded base and no stalk. Attachment is opposite. Stems are square with short hairs along the angles; color is green or reddish. Plants tend to create small colonies from short, spreading rhizomes.
Each flower produces 4 1-seeded nutlets.
The leaves are strongly aromatic when crushed. Mature plants may have many branches and take on a bushy appearance. A similar species, Narrow-leaved Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum tenuifolium), has a hairless stem and leaves not more than ¼ inch wide. It is not known to be in Minnesota but is present in Wisconsin.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake and Rice Creek Trail Regional Parks, Ramsey County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?
on: 2012-04-07 20:15:54
Growing near the railroad track outside Litchfield.
on: 2012-07-14 17:35:04
We have a few patches of these around our nature center and weren't sure what they were. They are growing in our prairie. Thanks for the ID help!
on: 2015-05-03 21:25:49
This plant is important food for short-tongued bees and wasps, and should be planted more often in gardens. Because the flowers are tiny, these insects can reach into them to drink the nectar. If you've watch it while it's in bloom, you'll see lots of different wasps crawling all over the flowers. Don't be afraid to plant it; it mainly attracts harmless wasps, not the yellow-jackets and hornets that sting people. Wasps are beautiful, and it's fascinating to see the many different species that are native to Minnesota.
on: 2017-07-10 19:01:48
I have some Narrow-leaved Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum tenuifolium) in my prairie patch in Victoria, Carver County.