Thursday, August 21, 2014

Favorite Plant of the Week - Pycnathium muticum

My favorite plant in the garden during late summer is Pycnathium muticum, a type of mountain mint.

This plant is actually, really and truly native to my area (and most of the states east of the Mississippi, except Florida). I see lots of plants for sale locally that are called natives but really didn't used to occur here until the nursery trade brought them in on the wave of let's-plant-natives craze. That's why I like the PLANTS database. It's a good place to double check those sorts of things if they're important to you.

Pycnathium muticum gets to be about 3 foot tall and as wide as you will let it. You can control it by pulling, the new runners don't have deep roots, but it is quite an aggressive spreader. Perfect for that Hell Strip.

According to the Missouri Botanical Garden plant finder database this variety of Mt. Mint tolerates full sun to part shade and medium water.

I don't water mine, ever, and it's in relatively poor soil. I would suggest that natural rainfall is sufficient in areas except the extremely dry ones.

The flowers are pale and small and the bracts are a paler green than the foliage so not showy flowers. Not fragrant blooms, either. I'd like to see them in a photo that shows the ultraviolet range because the bees and wasps and occasional beetle pollinator have no problems finding the blooms so there must be something I can't detect that's attracting them.

This plant is Hymenoptera Heroin (Hymenoptera is the scientific name for the order that includes bees, wasps and ants).

Amazingly neither The Husband nor myself has been stung while admiring or working around this plant (knock wood) despite the fact that for over a month is it practically crawling with bees and wasps.

And that's why I love it and why it's my favorite plant of the season.

thanks to Danger Garden for this meme


  1. I can't believe how many insects are on it! Looks like their favourite plant, too.

  2. Excellent! I can imagine all that buzzing probably causes the timid to cross the street.