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Hairy mountain mint’s billowy white blooms and fuzzy, grayish-green leaves are as attractive to gardeners as the flowers’ abundant nectar is to masses of butterflies, skippers, and other pollinators.  Also called American mountain mint and whorled mountain mint, this favorite with bees, wasps, and flies blooms profusely in full sun and a little less so in shadier conditions. It prefers moist, rich soils but adapts to a wide range of soils and spreads by rhizomes much less aggressively than common mint, especially in drier soils.  It has a clumping form that is easily controlled by cutting back the roots in spring.  The multi-branched stems smell distinctly of peppermint, and the button-shaped clusters of tubular flowers can be deadheaded to extend the flowering season into fall.  A threatened species in Ohio, it is a wonderful addition to landscapes and performs best when allowed to naturalize in native plant gardens or meadows.  It may also be massed as a groundcover, used on slopes for erosion, or used in well-drained borders or containers in sunny areas or locations with morning sun.


Native habitats include prairies, woodlands, rocky slopes, savannas, stream valleys, thickets, along railroad tracks, limestone glades, and abandoned fields. It’s usually found in higher quality natural areas, although it may colonize nearby disturbed areas


Plant Characteristics:

Grows 2-4' tall and wide. 


Performs best in full to part sun.


Prefers fertile, moist-to-slightly dry soils but adapts to other types of soils, including rocky and clay.  


Flat-topped purple-tinged white flowers sit atop stems, blooming May-June and lasting a month or longer.  Hairy, egg-shaped nutlets each contain one seed.  


Narrow, hairy, lance-shaped gray-green leaves are 1-3” long, becoming gradually smaller as they ascend square, hairy, light-green stems.  


Wildlife Value:

Host plant to 5 moth species, including curved-tooth geometer, anstenoptilia marmarodactyla (pictured here) and specialist Chionodes pseudofondella.  Also host to a stink bug, Neottiglossa cavifrons.  The abundant nectar attracts butterflies, skippers, 3 fly species, and honey bees and native bees, including cuckoo, leaf cutter, and halictid.  Visiting wasps include paper, thread-waisted, great golden digger, black grasshopper wasp, bee wolves, and eumenine.  


Medicinal, Edible, and Other Uses:

The leaves are used to make tea.


A poultice of the leaves is useful for headaches, and the tea can be used to treat menstrual and digestive imbalances.


Makes an excellent potpourri when dried.


Mint, Hairy Mountain, Pycnanthemum verticillatum

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  • We happily purchase or trade other plant material for locally gathered native seeds. Please provide pictures of the mature plant if possible, ideally flowering for best ID.

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