Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic
The flowers of Pycnanthemum muticum (short-toothed or clustered mountain-mint) may be small in size but their ability to attract pollinators is huge! In a study undertaken by Penn State Master Gardeners, P. muticum attracted 4.6 times as many pollinator visits as the next most attractive plant, Solidago rigida (stiff goldenrod), over a three-year period. P. muticum also tied with S. rigida for the greatest diversity of visiting pollinators at an average of 21.7.
This video features twenty-five different pollinator species that appeared on the same 2-foot by 2.5-foot patch of P. muticum. Twenty-one of them were observed over about twelve days in June and July of 2019 along with the tiny generalist predator Orius insidiosus (insidious flower bug–included, but not labeled in the video), two additional syrphid fly species, an unidentified bee species, tachnid and long-legged flies, a seed bug, a leafhopper, pollen mites, and male and female emerald jumper spiders. If you plant mountain-mint in your garden, then just imagine how many insects that it will attract over the course of its 15-week bloom period!
– Video © 2019 Mary Free