What’s not to like about a native perennial that is attractive to bees and butterflies, does not spread aggressively, and is deer-resistant? Mountain-mints, pycnanthemum tenuifoilium/muticum, bloom from June through August, with small white flowers rich in nectar that is food for many kinds of insects: butterflies, skippers, bees, beetles, flies and especially wasps. Flowers are tightly clustered on the ends of stems and their structure allows wasps and other short-tongued insects to feed easily.
Two species are common in our area. With very narrow leaves, Slender Mountain-mint (P. tenuifolium) has a delicate, somewhat airy appearance. This native perennial plant grows 1-3 feet tall, branching frequently to create a bushy effect. The leaves are up to 3 inches long and ¼ inch across. Each leaf is hairless, with a prominent central vein and smooth margins. Small white to lavender 2-lipped flowers are in dense clusters in the leaf axils or at the ends of slender, hairless stems.
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