Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

Some authorities refer to this plant as Pycnanthemum verticillatum var. pilosum. The appearance of Hairy Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum pilosum) is similar to other mountain mints (Pycnanthemum spp.), but its leaves and stems are more hairy. Compared to two prairie species, Common Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum) and Slender Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum tenuiflorum), Hairy Mountain Mint has wider leaves. Other mountain mints that occur in Illinois are restricted to the southern section of the state, where they are found primarily in hilly woodlands. The fresh leaves of Hairy Mountain Mint can be boiled in water to make an excellent mint-flavored tea (personal observation). Return
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Description

This herbaceous perennial plant is 2-4' tall, branching frequently to create a slender bushy appearance. The stems are light green, 4-angled, and densely pubescent on all sides. Pairs of opposite leaves occur along these stems, becoming gradually smaller and more slender as they ascend. These leaves are up to 1-3" long and ¼–¾" across; they are narrowly lanceolate to lanceolate in shape and either sessile or short-petiolate. The leaf margins are entire (toothless) and ciliate. When petioles are present, they are light green and densely short-pubescent. The upper leaf surface is grayish green and short-pubescent, while the lower leaf surface is slightly more pale and densely pubescent. The foliage has a typical mint fragrance. The upper stems terminate in branching flowerheads of flowers; individual heads are flat-topped and densely flowered, spanning up to 1" across. Each flower is about ¼" long (from upper lip to lower lip), consisting of a 2-lipped corolla, a long-tubular calyx with 5 teeth, 4 stamens, and a pistil. The corolla is white; there are purple specks and dots scattered across its throat and the lobes of its lips. The upper lip of the corolla consists of a short hood, while its lower lip is longer and 3-lobed. The sides of the calyx tube are light green, vertically ribbed, and pubescent; the teeth along the upper rim of the calyx are erect and narrowly triangular in shape. At the base of each flowerhead, there occurs several leafy bracts that are up to 1" long; they are grayish green, lanceolate in shape, and pubescent. The margins of these bracts are entire and ciliate. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late summer, lasting about 1 month. Afterwards, the flowers are replaced by tiny seeds (4 seeds per flower); these seeds are hidden from view by the persistent calyces. Individual seeds are about 1 mm. long, oblongoid in shape, and dark brown. The root system is rhizomatous, often forming a dense tuft of clonal offsets. Cultivation
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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Hairy Mountain Mint occurs occasionally in central Illinois, but it is uncommon or absent in the southern and northern sections of the state (see Distribution Map). Habitats include black soil prairies, meadows in wooded areas, rocky upland forests, woodland edges, savannas, thickets, limestone glades, and abandoned fields. Hairy Mountain Mint is usually found in higher quality natural areas, although it may colonize adjacent disturbed areas. Occasional wildfires or mowing may be beneficial in maintaining populations of this plant if it reduces competition from woody vegetation. Faunal Associations
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Occurs in southern Ontario and from Michigan to Mississippi west to Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma (Kartesz 1999). Also occurs to the east from New York (historical) to Massachusetts south to Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia (historical) where it is probably adventive (Steyermark 1963, McCance 1984, Great Plains Flora Association 1986, Kartesz 1999).

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Hairy Mountain Mint occurs occasionally in central Illinois, but it is uncommon or absent in the southern and northern sections of the state (see Distribution Map). Habitats include black soil prairies, meadows in wooded areas, rocky upland forests, woodland edges, savannas, thickets, limestone glades, and abandoned fields. Hairy Mountain Mint is usually found in higher quality natural areas, although it may colonize adjacent disturbed areas. Occasional wildfires or mowing may be beneficial in maintaining populations of this plant if it reduces competition from woody vegetation. Faunal Associations
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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Hairy Mountain Mint in Illinois

Pycnanthemum pilosum (Hairy Mountain Mint)
(Short-tongued bees usually seek nectar, but occasionally collect pollen; Rhipiphorid beetles are parasitic on other flower visitors; other insects suck nectar; most observations are from Robertson, otherwise they are from Hilty, Moure & Hurd, and Clinebell as indicated below)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn fq; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus impatiens (Cl), Bombus pensylvanica sn; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina dupla dupla sn; Anthophoridae (Epeolini): Epeolus bifasciatus sn fq, Triepeolus concavus sn fq, Triepeolus remigatus sn fq, Triepeolus simplex sn; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Melissodes agilis sn, Melissodes comptoides sn fq, Svastra obliqua obliqua sn; Megachilidae (Coelioxini): Coelioxys germana sn fq, Coelioxys octodentata sn, Coelioxys sayi sn; Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile brevis brevis sn, Megachile latimanus sn, Megachile mendica sn, Megachile petulans sn fq

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon sericea sn fq, Agapostemon virescens sn fq, Augochloropsis metallica metallica (MH), Halictus confusus sn fq, Halictus ligatus sn fq, Halictus parallelus sn fq, Halictus rubicunda sn, Lasioglossum cinctipes sn, Lasioglossum imitatus sn cp fq, Lasioglossum pectoralis sn, Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus sn, Lasioglossum versatus sn cp fq, Lasioglossum zephyrus sn; Halictidae (Sphecodini): Sphecodes cressonii sn, Sphecodes dichroa sn fq; Colletidae (Hylaeinae): Hylaeus affinis sn; Andrenidae (Panurginae): Calliopsis andreniformis sn cp fq

Wasps
Sphecidae (Bembicinae): Bembix nubilipennis fq, Bicyrtes quadrifasciata, Bicyrtes ventralis, Glenostictia pictifrons, Stictia carolina; Sphecidae (Crabroninae): Anacrabro ocellatus, Lestica confluentus, Oxybelus mexicanus; Sphecidae (Larrinae): Tachytes aurulenta, Tachytes distinctus; Sphecidae (Philanthinae): Cerceris compacta, Cerceris fumipennis fq, Eucerceris zonata, Philanthus gibbosus, Philanthus ventilabris fq; Sphecidae (Sphecinae): Ammophila kennedyi, Ammophila nigricans, Ammophila pictipennis fq, Ammophila procera, Eremnophila aureonotata fq, Isodontia apicalis, Prionyx atrata, Sphex ichneumonea (Rb, H), Sphex nudus; Sapygidae: Sapyga interrupta; Tiphiidae: Myzinum quinquecincta fq; Scoliidae: Scolia bicincta; Vespidae: Polistes dorsalis, Polistes fuscata; Vespidae (Eumeninae): Euodynerus annulatus, Euodynerus boscii, Euodynerus foraminatus fq, Leionotus scrophulariae, Leptochilus republicanus, Parancistrocerus vagus fq, Pterocheilus quinquefasciatus, Stenodynerus anormis, Stenodynerus fundatiformis, Stenodynerus histrionalis; Pompilidae: Entypus fulvicornis; Chrysididae: Hedychrum wiltii

Flies
Stratiomyidae: Stratiomys meigenii; Syrphidae: Eristalis dimidiatus, Eristalis tenax, Eristalis transversus, Syritta pipiens fq; Bombyliidae: Chrysanthrax cypris, Exoprosopa fascipennis fq, Exoprosopa meigenii, Systoechus vulgaris; Conopidae: Physocephala tibialis, Physoconops brachyrhynchus fq, Thecophora occidensis, Zodion fulvifrons, Zodion obliquefasciatum; Tachinidae: Archytas analis fq, Archytas aterrima, Copecrypta ruficauda, Cylindromyia euchenor, Gymnoclytia immaculata, Gymnoclytia occidua, Phasia purpurascens, Phorantha magna (Rb, MS), Siphona geniculata, Spallanzania hesperidarum, Trichopoda pennipes; Sarcophagidae: Helicobia rapax, Sphixapata trilineata; Calliphoridae: Cochliomyia macellaria, Phormia regina; Muscidae: Stomoxys calcitrans

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Libytheana carinenta (H), Phyciodes tharos; Pieridae: Pieris rapae (H), Pontia protodice

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Epargyreus clarus, Erynnis martialis

Moths
Sesiidae: Melittia cucurbitae (H)

Beetles
Rhipiphoridae: Macrosiagon dimidiata lgf, Macrosiagon limbata lgf

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N1 - Critically Imperiled

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T5 - Secure

Reasons: Widespread in the eastern United States but only native to the western portion of its range. Found in a variety of habitats including prairies, woodlands, rocky slopes, stream valleys, and roadsides (Steyermark 1963, Great Plains Flora Association 1986, Voss 1996). Frequent in the center of its native range, becoming rare at the edges.

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Threats

Comments: Threats in Ohio may include overshading due to forest succession and competition from fertile hybrids (McCance 1984).

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Formerly recognized as the distinct species Pycnanthemum pilosum. Now considered to be a variety of Pycnanthemum verticillatum (Cooperrider 1984, Kartesz 1999).

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