A deer- and rabbit-resistant aromatic herb, anise hyssop has very showy, long-blooming flowers and fragrant foliage. A member of the mint family, it’s a hummingbird magnet, giving rise to its common name, hummingbird mint. Growing wild in northern regions of North America, it sprawls across open prairies, creating vast stretches of lavender blossoms from June to September.
Plants have a bushy, clumping growth habit and reach a mature height of 2-4 feet, with a spread of 2-3 feet.
Does best in average to dry soil in full to part sun.
Hummingbird mint self-seeds readily and often blooms the first year. New seedlings are typically numerous and easy to identify with their purple-tinged foliage. They are hardy and transplant easily for expanding or sharing.
A host plant for 3 species of Lepidoptera larvae, including Radcliffe’s dagger moth, pictured here. Hyssop is a rich source of nectar for native pollinators with a long proboscis, such as mining bees.
Medicinal and Edible Uses:
The leaves have a refreshingly sweet smell and taste, like a combination of anise, licorice, and mint, and can be used to make an enjoyable tea for treating colds. Herbalists, including Native Americans, have used the edible flowers, leaves, and stems for centuries in preparations believed to have an array of beneficial properties.
The blossoms make a beautiful salad garnish.
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