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Pycnanthemum tenuifolium (Narrowleaf mountain mint)
Cressler, Alan

Pycnanthemum tenuifolium

Pycnanthemum tenuifolium Schrad.

Narrowleaf Mountain Mint, Slender Mountain Mint, Common Horsemint

Lamiaceae (Mint Family)

Synonym(s): Koellia flexuosa, Pycnanthemum flexuosum

USDA Symbol: pyte

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

This stiff, erect, compact, clump-forming mint has narrow leaves subtending the flower clusters. The minty-smelling plants are 20-30 in. tall and have terminal flower clusters composed of numerous, small, two-lipped corollas varying from whitish to lavender, with purple spots.


From the Image Gallery

44 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Nut
Size Notes: Normally around 2 feet tall, but can reach 4 feet in rich soil.
Leaf: Pale green.
Fruit: Nutlets, black.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
Bloom Notes: White, with blue or purple spots. Begins flowering when grown to about one foot wide.


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: ME to GA, w. to WI, IA, e. KS & e. TX
Native Habitat: Upland prairies; dry, rocky, open woods; low, wet areas as well as fast-draining Post Oak woods and pine barrens

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Drought Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Various moist to dry soils.
Conditions Comments: The similar and closely related P. flexuosum is a more coastal species.


Use Ornamental: Silvery foliage and long blooming period.
Use Wildlife: Bees and butterflies use flowers. Deer eat leaves. Numerous animals eat seeds.
Use Food: Dried leaves used as flavoring and in teas.
Use Other: Rub leaves on skin to repel mosquitoes.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: No

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees
Special Value to Honey Bees
Supports Conservation Biological Control

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Propagation Material: Root Division , Seeds
Description: Best propagated by cuttings or divisions. Tip cuttings are easy and reliable, taken in June. To make divisions, lift the clump in late fall or early spring and use pruning shears to divide the shallow root system. Seeds are so tiny it is best to plant
Seed Collection: Collect seed after the first few frosts. To check for ripe seed, bend over the stem and shake it; if black seeds fall out, collect right away. Store in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: No pretreatment necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: To keep it from getting too wide, divide it by the roots occasionally.

Find Seed or Plants

Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Edible Plants for North Georgia
January 10, 2010
We are planning a forest food garden in the hollers of the N GA Mountains. Which edible fruit, nut, berry, herb and creepers would be best for this reddish, clay-like soil? The food garden is in...
view the full question and answer

Edible Plants for a Virginia Rain Garden
October 21, 2009
Can you recommend edible plants that would be appropriate for use in a rain garden? I'm located in Charlottesville, VA, but this can be in general as well.
view the full question and answer

Possibly escaped non-native Buddleja davidii in Missouri
March 15, 2006
About 3 years ago my wife and I were traveling thru southeastern Missouri and stopped at a road side rest station on Interstate 44. While we were there we noticed a shrub about 4 to 5 feet tall with p...
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

First United Methodist Church of Jefferson City - Jefferson City, TN


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Pycnanthemum tenuifolium in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Pycnanthemum tenuifolium in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Pycnanthemum tenuifolium


Record Modified: 2023-04-07
Research By: TWC Staff

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