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Pycnanthemum virginianum is often confused with:
Pycnanthemum tenuifolium Pycnanthemum tenuifolium
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Monarda punctata Monarda punctata in bloom in summer in Moore County
Viola pedata Viola pedata
Viola striata Viola striata

Pycnanthemum virginianum

Description

Mountain Mint is a branching, herbaceous, flowering perennial in the Lamiaceae family that grows to 3 feet high with a bushy habit. The stems are green or red with small, 1/2 inch leaves that emit a strong mint scent when crushed. Numerous white flowers with purple dots blossom in sequence at the end of the upper stems in mid-summer, beginning with the outer circle of flowers and moving toward the center. Mountain Mint is probably misnamed, because it does not usually occur in mountainous habitats. The genus name comes from Greek pyknos meaning dense and anthos meaning flower. The species name means "of Virginia".

Mountain Mint prefers full or partial sun and moist to average soil. It will tolerate most soils: loam, sand, clay, or gravel. During drought, the lower leaves can yellow and fall off. The plant will add interest to an herb garden, border, naturalized area or meadow and can also be grown in open areas near ponds and streams.

The root system produces rhizomes, which spread a short distance from the mother plant forming a small colony of plants. It can be aggressive in optimum sites, but less so when the soil is kept dry. Insects are strongly attracted to the flowers, including various bees, wasps, flies, small butterflies, and beetles; however, mammals and and leaf-chewing insects seem to find the mint fragrance of the leaves and stems repugnant, and rarely bother this plant.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems: This plant is less subject to foliar disease than some other mints, such as Monarda spp. However, stressed plants can succumb to rust.

More information on Pycnanthemum.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant leaves#native perennial#native shrub#NC native#spreading#flowering shrub#herbaceous perennial#NC Native Pollinator Plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant leaves#native perennial#native shrub#NC native#spreading#flowering shrub#herbaceous perennial#NC Native Pollinator Plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Pycnanthemum
    Species:
    virginianum
    Family:
    Lamiaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Used in teas.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern Canada and United States south to North Carolina.
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts pollinators.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Each small flower produces 4 tiny, finely pitted, dull black seeds. These seeds are distributed by the wind.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Numerous flattened heads of small white flowers (often with purple dots) occur at the ends of the upper stems. Each head is up to ¾" across and can contain up to 50 flowers. However, only a few bloom at the same time, beginning with the outer flowers moving to the center over the course of mid-Summer. Each tubular flower is about 1/8" long and 2-lipped.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are up to 2½" long and narrowly lanceolate or linear. They are sessile, and have smooth margins. The largest leaves are ¼ - ½" across. When damaged, the foliage releases a strong mint scent.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Square
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Green or reddish stems are strongly four-angled with scattered white hairs along the ridges.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Pond
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Insect Pests
    Poor Soil