Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This native perennial plant is 1-3' tall and unbranched or sparingly branched. The central stem is 4-angled and covered with long white hairs. The opposite leaves are up to 3½" long and 1½" across. They are ovate or lanceolate-ovate and serrated along the margins. The lower surface of each leaf is more or less pubescent, while the upper surface has scattered appressed hairs. The petioles are about 1" long and covered with spreading hairs. The central stem (and any major side stems) terminates in several whorls of flowers. The whorls of flowers occur above the axils of the upper leaves, or they may occur above pairs of leafy bracts. The flowers in each whorl are densely crowded together. Each flower is up to ½" long, consisting of a tubular calyx with 5 teeth, a 2-lipped corolla, 2 exerted stamens, and a slender style that is divided at its tip. The calyx is light green and exceedingly hairy along the margins of its teeth; the upper teeth are longer than the lower teeth. The corolla is light purple or white and has purple dots on the lower lip; the outer surface of this corolla is pubescent. The lower lip is divided into 3 lobes, while the upper lip functions as a protective hood. The blooming period occurs during the summer and lasts about 1½ months. Each flower is replaced by 4 ovoid nutlets. The root system consists of a taproot.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Comments

This is another member of the Mint family with pairs of opposite leaves and relatively small tubular flowers. It has unusually hairy stems and the dense hairy whorls of flowers are rather conspicuous. These dense whorls of flowers distinguish the genus Blephilia from many other members of the Mint family. The only other member of this genus that occurs in Illinois is Blephilia ciliata (Downy Wood Mint). Downy Wood Mint has leaves that are sessile (or nearly so) and its stems are finely pubescent. Hairy Wood Mint, on the other hand, has leaves with slender petioles and its stems have spreading white hairs that are quite long. Downy Wood Mint prefers habitats that are somewhat sunnier and drier; it is sometimes found in prairies and savannas.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Range and Habitat in Illinois

Hairy Wood Mint occurs occasionally throughout Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include mesic deciduous woodlands, areas along woodland paths, woodland borders, limestone glades, and thickets. Minor disturbance is desirable if it removes excessive shade from the overhead canopy.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Hairy Wood Mint occurs occasionally throughout Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include mesic deciduous woodlands, areas along woodland paths, woodland borders, limestone glades, and thickets. Minor disturbance is desirable if it removes excessive shade from the overhead canopy.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Hairy Wood Mint in Illinois

Blephilia hirsuta (Hairy Wood Mint)
(Bees suck nectar or collect pollen, while flies suck nectar or feed on pollen; other insects suck nectar; one observation is from Graenicher, otherwise they are from Robertson)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn fq; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus auricomus sn, Bombus bimaculatus sn fq, Bombus griseocallis sn fq, Bombus impatiens sn, Bombus pensylvanica sn fq, Psithyrus citrinus sn, Psithyrus variabilis sn; Anthophoridae (Anthophorini): Anthophora terminalis sn cp, Anthophora walshii sn; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina calcarata sn, Ceratina dupla dupla sn cp fq; Anthophoridae (Epeolini): Triepeolus concavus sn, Triepeolus cressonii cressonii sn, Triepeolus lunatus concolor sn fq, Triepeolus remigatus sn; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Florilegus condigna sn, Melissodes agilis sn, Melissodes bimaculata bimaculata sn fq, Melissodes communis sn, Melissodes comptoides sn fq, Melissodes trinodis sn, Peponapis pruinosa pruinosa sn, Svastra obliqua obliqua sn; Megachilidae (Coelioxini): Coelioxys octodentata sn, Coelioxys rufitarsis rufitarsis sn, Coelioxys sayi sn fq; Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile brevis brevis sn, Megachilie inimica sayi sn fq, Megachile latimanus sn, Megachile mendica sn fq, Megachile petulans sn, Megachile rugifrons sn fq, Megachile texana sn; Megachilidae (Osmiini): Hoplitis pilosifrons sn; Megachilidae (Trypetini): Heriades leavitti sn cp

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon sericea sn cp fq, Agapostemon splendens sn, Agapostemon virescens sn, Augochlora purus purus sn, Augochlorella striata sn cp fq, Augochloropsis metallica metallica sn, Halictus rubicunda sn, Lasioglossum cinctipes sn, Lasioglossum imitatus cp np fq, Lasioglossum macoupinensis cp np, Lasioglossum pectoralis sn cp, Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus sn; Colletidae (Hylaeinae): Hylaeus affinis fp np

Wasps
Sphecidae (Sphecinae): Ammophila kennedyi, Ammophila nigricans, Ammophila procera; Tiphiidae: Myzinum quinquecincta; Pompilidae: Ceropales fulvipes; Vespidae (Eumeninae): Euodynerus foraminatus fq

Flies
Syrphidae: Allograpta obliqua fp np, Chalcosyrphus nemorum fp np, Eristalis transversus sn, Syritta pipiens fp np fq, Tropidia albistylum sn; Empididae: Empis clausa sn; Bombyliidae: Anthrax albofasciatus fp np, Hemipenthes sinuosa fp np, Rhynchanthrax parvicornis sn, Systoechus vulgaris sn (Gr); Conopidae: Physocephala texana sn fq, Physocephala tibialis sn, Stylogaster neglecta sn fq, Zodion obliquefasciatum sn; Tachinidae: Archytas analis sn; Muscidae: Stomoxys calcitrans sn

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Chlosyne nycteis, Danaus plexippus, Speyeria cybele, Vanessa atalanta, Vanessa cardui; Pieridae: Colias philodice fq, Pieris rapae, Pontia protodice

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Epargyreus clarus, Euphyes vestris, Polites peckius

Moths
Ctenuchidae: Cisseps fulvicollis

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Faunal Associations

The flowers are pollinated primarily by long-tongued bees, including honeybees, bumblebees, Little Carpenter bees, Mason bees, Leaf-Cutting bees, Cuckoo bees (Epeoline), Miner bees, and Anthophorid bees. Other visitors of the flowers include Halictid bees, wasps, bee flies, Thick-Headed flies, Syrphid flies, butterflies, and skippers. These insects seek nectar primarily, although some of the Halictid bees collect pollen and some flies feed on the pollen. The foliage probably isn't attractive to mammalian herbivores as a food source.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Blephilia hirsuta

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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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: 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 partial sun to light shade, moist to mesic conditions, and a rich loamy soil with leaf mould. This species also grows in soil that is somewhat rocky.
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Wikipedia

Blephilia hirsuta

Blephilia hirsuta is an herbaceous perennial of the mint family Lamiaceae native to eastern North America. It is commonly called hairy wood mint[1] or hairy pagoda plant.[2]

Description[edit]

Hairy wood mint is a perennial plant that is normally 30 to 120 centimetres (12 to 47 in) tall. The central stem is covered with long white hairs and ends in several whorls of flowers.[3]

The flowers can be either light blue, pale purple or white with purple spots. Each flower is 1 cm long with light green sepals,[4] two main 'lips', two visible stamens, and a style that is divided at its tip. Hairy Wood mint has a very short growing period in which it only blooms in the summer for roughly a month and a half.[3]

Arranged oppositely along the stem, the leaves of hairy wood mint are long but thin, becoming wider near the base of the leaf. The petioles are roughly 1 to 3 cm and are covered with little hairs. Out of all the plants in this genus, Blephilia hirsuta has the largest leaves.[4] This plant has a taproot type of root system.[3]

Taxonomy[edit]

The German-American botanist Frederick Pursh described the hairy wood mint as Monarda hirsuta in his 1814 work Flora americae septentrionalis, before George Bentham gave it its current binomial name.[5] The species name hirsuta is Latin for "hairy".

Distribution and habitat[edit]

In Canada, hairy wood mint can be found in southern Quebec and Ontario. It is common throughout the eastern United States, including Connecticut, Indiana, West Virginia, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee.[2]

Hairy wood mint prefers rich moist soil in hardwood forests, along streams and rivers, in forest openings and thickets underlain by limestone, and is occasionally found near wetlands.[3] Hairy wood mint likes partial sun or light shade. Forests with infrequent, low-intensity disturbances (i.e., gap dynamics) are ideal.[3]

Importance to humans[edit]

Hairy wood mint is not generally used as food by humans, but it is often planted in gardens for its beauty and pleasant aroma; when the leaves are crushed or damaged they give off a minty scent. It may, however, have some beneficial medicinal properties, given that a related species (Blephilia ciliata) was used by the Cherokee as a poultice to treat headaches.[6]

Ecology[edit]

Many different types of bees (e.g., honeybees, mason bees, and miner bees), flies (e.g., bee-flies and syrphids), and butterflies (e.g., skippers) pollinate the flowers of hairy wood mint.[3] Many of these pollinators pollinate the hairy wood mint because they get a nectar reward, although some are after the pollen itself. Herbivorous mammals are unlikely to eat the leaves because of their strong aroma.[3]

Conservation[edit]

Over most of its range Blephilia hirsuta is a secure species, but in Connecticut it is listed as a species of 'special concern', in Vermont it is 'threatened', and in Massachusetts Hairy wood mint is an endangered species.[2] Unfortunately, the exact needs for conservation management are not known.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ USDA, Germplasm Resources Information Network. "Taxon: Blephilia hirsuta (Pursh) Benth.". USDA. Retrieved 8 December 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c USDA, Natural resources conservation service. "Plants Profile for Blephilia hirsuta". USDA. Retrieved 8 December 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Hilty, John. "Illinois Wildflowers: Hairy Wood Mint". John Hilty. Retrieved 8 December 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Simmers, R.W.; Kral, R.W. (1992). "A new species of Blephilia (Lamiaceae) from Northern Alabama". Rhodora 94: 1–14. 
  5. ^ Bentham, George (1836). Labiatarum genera et species: or, A description of the genera and species of plants of the order labiatae; with their general history, characters, affinities, and geographical distribution. London: James Ridgway and Sons. p. 320. 
  6. ^ Hamel and Chiltoskey, Paul B., and Mary U. (1975). Cherokee Plants and Their Uses - A 400 Year History. Sylva, N.C.: Herald Publishing Co. p. 45. 
  7. ^ Nature Serve Explorer. "Comprehensive Report Species - Blephilia hirsuta". Nature Serve. Retrieved 9 December 2011. 
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