Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This native perennial plant is 1-3' tall, branching frequently to create a bushy effect. The slender stems are hairless. The slender opposite leaves are up to 3" long and ¼" across. Each leaf is sessile, linear, and hairless, with a prominent central vein and smooth margins. The upper stems terminate in small flat heads of flowers. The short tubular flowers are white, often with scattered purple dots, and individually about ¼" long. The corolla is divided into an upper lip and a lower lip with three lobes. The reproductive structures of each flower are white, except that the anthers are purple. The calyx is divided into several slender green lobes. The blooming period is early to mid-summer, and lasts about 1–1½ months. There is no floral scent, although the foliage has a mild mint scent and somewhat stronger minty taste. The small dark seeds are without tufts of hairs, but are small enough to be dispersed by gusts of wind. The root system consists of a taproot and rhizomes. Slender Mountain Mint can spread vegetatively, forming colonies of closely bunched plants.
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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Slender Mountain Mint occurs occasionally in every county of southern and central Illinois, but is less common and more sporadic in northern Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include moist to slightly dry black soil prairies, moist meadows and gravelly areas along rivers, openings in woodlands, moist thickets, acid gravel seeps, limestone glades, and abandoned fields.
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Slender Mountain Mint occurs occasionally in every county of southern and central Illinois, but is less common and more sporadic in northern Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include moist to slightly dry black soil prairies, moist meadows and gravelly areas along rivers, openings in woodlands, moist thickets, acid gravel seeps, limestone glades, and abandoned fields.
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Associations

Faunal Associations

The flowers are very attractive to many kinds of insects, including long-tongued bees, short-tongued bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, skippers, beetles, and plant bugs. These insects usually seek nectar. Among the wasps, are such visitors as Thread-Waisted wasps, Bee Wolves (Philanthus spp.), Scoliid wasps, Tiphiid wasps, Sand wasps, Spider wasps, and Eumenine wasps. Flies visitors include Soldier flies, Syrphid flies, Mydas flies, bee flies, Thick-Headed flies, and Tachinid flies. The seeds are too small to be of much interest to birds. Mammalian herbivores usually don't browse on this plant because of the minty taste; the foliage may contain anti-bacterial substances that disrupt the digestive process of herbivores.
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Flower-Visiting Insects of Slender Mountain Mint in Illinois

Pycnanthemum tenuifolium (Slender Mountain Mint)
(Insect visitors usually suck nectar; exceptions are noted below; observations are from Robertson, except for one observation from Moure & Hurd as indicated below)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn fq; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus auricomus sn cp fq icp, Bombus fraternus sn, Bombus griseocallis sn cp fq, Bombus impatiens sn, Bombus pensylvanica sn, Psithyrus citrinus sn, Psithyrus variabilis sn; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina dupla dupla sn; Anthophoridae (Epeolini): Epeolus bifasciatus sn fq, Epeolus lectoides sn, Triepeolus concavus sn fq, Triepeolus cressonii cressonii sn, Triepeolus lunatus concolor sn, Triepeolus lunatus lunatus sn fq, Triepeolus nevadensis sn, Triepeolus remigatus sn fq, Triepeolus simplex sn; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Anthedonia compta sn, Florilegus condigna sn, Melissodes agilis sn, Melissodes bimaculata bimaculata sn fq, Melissodes communis sn, Melissodes comptoides sn, Melissodes coreopsis sn, Svastra obliqua obliqua sn fq, Svastra petulca petulca sn; Anthophoridae (Melectini): Xeromelecta interrupta sn; Anthophoridae (Nomadini): Nomada texana sn; Anthophoridae (Pasitidini): Holcopasites illinoiensis sn; Megachilidae (Coelioxini): Coelioxys alternata alternata sn, Coelioxys germana sn, Coelioxys modesta sn, Coelioxys octodentata sn fq, Coelioxys sayi sn fq; Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile brevis brevis sn fq, Megachile campanulae campanulae sn, Megachile inimica sayi sn fq, Megachile latimanus sn, Megachile mendica sn fq, Megachile petulans sn cp fq, Megachile texana sn; Megachilidae (Osmiini): Hoplitis pilosifrons sn; Megachilidae (Stelidini): Stelis trypetinum sn

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon sericea sn fq, Agapostemon texanus texanus sn, Augochlorella aurata sn fq, Augochlorella striata sn, Augochloropsis metallica metallica sn cp, Augochloropsis sumptuosa (MH), Halictus confusus sn, Halictus ligatus sn fq, Halictus parallelus sn fq, Halictus rubicunda sn fq, Lasioglossum cinctipes sn, Lasioglossum forbesii sn fq, Lasioglossum imitatus sn, Lasioglossum pectoralis sn cp, Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus sn, Lasioglossum pruinosus sn, Lasioglossum tegularis sn cp, Lasioglossum versatus sn cp fq; Halictidae (Nomiinae): Nomia nortoni nortoni sn fq; Halictidae (Sphecodini): Sphecodes antennariae sn, Sphecodes cressonii sn, Sphecodes dichroa sn fq, Sphecodes heraclei heraclei sn, Sphecodes minor sn, Sphecodes pycnanthemi sn olg, Sphecodes ranunculi sn, Sphecodes stygius sn fq; Colletidae (Colletinae): Colletes eulophi sn fq, Colletes latitarsis sn, Colletes mandibularis sn, Colletes nudus sn, Colletes willistoni sn fq; Colletidae (Hylaeinae): Hylaeus affinis sn fq, Hylaeus mesillae sn fq, Hylaeus modestus modestus sn; Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena quintilis sn fq, Andrena virginiana sn; Andrenidae (Panurginae): Calliopsis andreniformis sn

Wasps
Sphecidae (Astatinae): Astata unicolor; Sphecidae (Bembicinae): Bembix americana, Bembix nubilipennis fq, Bicyrtes quadrifasciata fq, Bicyrtes ventralis, Glenostictia pictifrons fq, Pseudoplisus phaleratus, Stictia carolina, Stizoides renicinctus, Stizus brevipennis; Sphecidae (Crabroninae): Ectemnius decemmaculatus fq, Ectemnius rufifemur, Lestica confluentus fq, Oxybelus emarginatus, Oxybelus laetus, Oxybelus mexicanus, Oxybelus packardii; Sphecidae (Larrinae): Liris argentata, Tachysphex acuta, Tachysphex belfragei, Tachysphex mundus, Tachytes aurulenta, Tachytes distinctus fq, Tachytes harpax, Tachytes pepticus; Sphecidae (Philanthinae): Cerceris bicornuta, Cerceris clypeata, Cerceris compacta, Cerceris compar, Cerceris finitima, Cerceris fumipennis, Cerceris rufinoda, Cerceris rufopicta, Eucerceris zonata, Philanthus gibbosus fq, Philanthus ventilabris fq; Sphecidae (Sphecinae): Ammophila nigricans fq, Ammophila pictipennis, Ammophila procera, Eremnophila aureonotata icp, Isodontia apicalis, Palmodes dimidiatus, Prionyx atrata fq, Prionyx thomae, Sceliphron caementaria, Sphex ichneumonea fq, Sphex nudus, Sphex pensylvanica; Vespidae: Polistes annularis, Polistes carolina, Polistes dorsalis, Polistes fuscata; Vespidae (Eumeninae): Ancistrocerus antilope, Ancistrocerus campestris, Ancistrocerus unifasciatus, Eumenes fraterna icp, Euodynerus annulatus, Euodynerus boscii, Euodynerus foraminatus fq, Leionotus scrophulariae, Leionotus ziziae, Leptochilus republicanus, Monobia quadridens, Parancistrocerus fulvipes, Parancistrocerus vagus, Pterocheilus quinquefasciatus, Stenodynerus ammonia, Stenodynerus anormis fq, Stenodynerus fundatiformis, Stenodynerus histrionalis, Zethus spinipes; Sapygidae: Sapyga interrupta; Tiphiidae: Myzinum caroliniana, Myzinum quinquecincta fq; Scoliidae: Campsomeris plumipes, Scolia bicincta fq, Scolia nobilitata; Pompilidae: Anoplius americanus, Anoplius lepidus, Anoplius marginatus, Ceropales robinsonii, Entypus fulvicornis fq, Poecilopompilus algidus, Poecilopompilus interrupta, Tachypompilus ferruginea; Chrysididae: Hedychrum violaceum

Flies
Stratiomyidae: Odontomyia cincta sn, Stratiomys meigenii sn; Mydidae: Mydas clavatus sn fq, Mydas tibialis sn; Syrphidae: Eristalinus aeneus sn, Eristalis dimidiatus sn, Eristalis stipator sn fq, Eristalis tenax sn fq, Eristalis transversus sn, Helophilus latifrons sn, Mallota albipilis sn, Mallota bautias sn, Milesia virginiensis sn, Orthonevra nitida sn fq, Palpada vinetorum sn fq, Sphaerophoria contiqua sn, Spilomyia longicornis sn, Syritta pipiens sn fq, Toxomerus marginatus sn fq, Tropidia mamillata sn; Empidae: Empis clausa sn fq; Bombyliidae: Anthrax albofasciatus fp np, Chrysanthrax cypris sn fq, Exoprosopa fasciata sn, Exoprosopa fascipennis sn fq, Exoprosopa meigenii sn fq, Rhynchanthrax parvicornis sn, Villa alternata sn; Conopidae: Physocephala texana sn, Physocephala tibialis sn fq, Physoconops brachyrhynchus sn fq icp, Thecophora occidensis sn, Zodion fulvifrons sn, Zodion obliquefasciatum sn icp; Tachinidae: Archytas analis sn, Archytas aterrima sn, Cylindromyia euchenor sn, Cylindromyia fumipennis sn, Epigrimyia polita sn, Euclytia flava sn, Gymnoclytia immaculata sn fq, Gymnoclytia occidua sn, Linnaemya comta sn, Paradidyma singularis sn, Phasia aeneoventris sn fq, Phasia fumosa sn, Phasia purpurascens sn, Spallanzania hesperidarum sn, Xanthomelanodes arcuatus sn; Calliphoridae: Cochliomyia macellaria sn, Protophormia terraenovae sn; Muscidae: Limnophora narona sn, Neomyia cornicina sn

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Chlosyne nycteis, Euptoieta claudia, Junonia coenia, Libytheana carinenta, Limenitis archippus, Megisto cymela, Phyciodes tharos, Speyeria cybele, Vanessa atalanta, Vanessa cardui, Vanessa virginiensis fq; Lycaenidae: Everes comyntas, Lycaena hyllus, Satyrium titus, Strymon melinus; Pieridae: Colias cesonia, Colias philodice, Eurema lisa, Pieris rapae, Pontia protodice; Papilionidae: Battus philenor

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Epargyreus clarus, Erynnis juvenalis, Erynnis martialis, Pholisora catullus, Polites peckius, Polites themistocles, Thorybes bathyllus

Moths
Ctenuchidae: Cisseps fulvicollis

Beetles
Cerambycidae: Typocerus sinuatus fq; Curculionidae: Odontocorynus scutellum-album fq; Mordellidae: Hoshihananomia octopunctata, Mordella marginata; Rhipiphoridae: Macrosiagon dimidiata lgf, Macrosiagon flavipennis lgf, Macrosiagon limbata fq lgf; Scarabaeidae (Cetonniae): Trichiotinus affinis, Trichiotinus piger

Plant Bugs
Miridae: Adelphocoris rapidus; Lygaeidae: Lygaeus turcicus, Neortholomus scolopax, Oncopeltus fasciatus fq; Pentatomidae: Euschistus ictericus

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Pycnanthemum tenuifolium

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Pycnanthemum tenuifolium

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full sun and moist to slightly dry conditions. This plant often grows in rich loam, as well as soil containing rocky or gravelly material. Foliar disease is less troublesome for this mint species than many others. The leaves may assume a yellowish appearance during a major drought. This is an easy plant to grow.
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Wikipedia

Pycnanthemum tenuifolium

Pycnanthemum tenuifolium ( narrowleaf mountainmint, slender mountainmint, common horsemint, Virginia thyme) is a plant in the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is native to eastern North America.

This is an herbaceous plant with narrow, opposite, simple leaves, on wiry, green stems. The flowers are white, borne in summer. Like most plants in the genus, the foliage has a strong mint fragrance when crushed or disturbed.

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