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Tried and True Native Plant Selections
for the Mid-Atlantic
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Pycnanthemum muticum (Short-toothed/Clustered Mountain-mint)
The flowers of this native* may be unassuming, but their nectar enticed the greatest number and diversity of pollinators out of 86 native species and nativars monitored by Penn State Extension and Master Gardeners over a 3-year period.** Showy, silvery bracts accent the flower clusters and the foliage exudes a strong minty aroma when crushed.
*It is native in DC, uncommon in DE, and scattered in southeastern counties of PA. It is infrequent throughout VA, but is native to Fairfax and Loudoun Counties in NoVA.
**According to “Bees, Bugs & Blooms – A pollinator trial.” Posted: February 5, 2016. Penn State. Center for Pollinator Research.
Video © Mary Free
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! Learn more about Pollinators. NOTE: The butterfly identified as Vanessa virginiensis is actually Vanessa cardui (painted lady) with four eyespots on the ventral hindwing instead of two.
Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants:
Tried and True Native Plant Fact Sheets