Randalls Island Park Alliance

A Common Misnomer: Mountain Mint

In What's in Bloom on February 2, 2012 at 12:04 pm

by Phyllis Odessey

I like to garden, because I am constantly learning new things.  It’s never ending.  Not only are new plants introduced into the trade, but there are always plants that you haven’t used before that deserve a chance to see what they can do.  In the future, we will be highlighting plants that fall into these categories.



It was Marlon Murillo and John Gunderson, two former members of the Horticulture Crew,  who brought Pycnanthemum Virginium to our attention. We were looking for a tough plant for a tough spot.  We had tried various perennials, but nothing had done well.  I’ve always shied away from planting anything in the mint family(Lamiaceae)  for fear of its taking over.  Marlon and John assured me this would not happen.

Pycnanthemum Virgininium or Mountain Mint as it is commonly called is a misnomer.  This plant does not have a mountain habitat.

  • it is native
  • it is perennial
  • it allows many pollinators at once (hence pycnanthemum meaning densely flowered)
  • it will grow in any type of soil
  • its leaves are fragrant when crushed
  • some people use it to make insect repellent
  • it does not have invasive runners
  • it has beautiful green-gray foliage
  • it doesn’t flop over
  • silver flowerheadsAs my mother used to say…try it you’ll like it.

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