Species Spotlight – Pycnanthemum incanum var. incanum

Pycnanthemum incanum var. incanum

An outstanding wildlife restoration species. Out-competes most weeds, attracts hoards of pollinators, and looks fantastic.

Pycnanthemum incanum powerhouse brings life to forest restorations

Pycnanthemum incanum
Pycnanthemum incanum in a forest restoration

Our very special strain of hoary mountain mint (Pycnanthemum incanum var. incanum) was discovered by one of our botanists on a remote mountain top in Eastern PA.  It’s special for so many reasons.  First of all, it can grow in a far wider range of site conditions than most strains of Pycnanthemum incanum and can even handle heavy clay soils.  Second, it’s at least three times as productive for pollinators than most strains because of its massive flower heads (about as big as a clementine).  Thirdly, this mountain mint is a beast and handily crowds out Japanese stilt grass, garlic mustard, and most other nuisance weeds.  Fourth, and very unusually, it occasionally displays purple flowers instead of the typical white flowers.

Our Pycnanthemum incanum var. incanum is a mainstay of our forest and woodland restoration programs.  We use it to attract hoards of beneficial insects, including butterflies and pollinators, into our project areas.  It’s extremely useful for combating a wide range of nuisance invasive species.  And it’s so vigorous that we can plant 25,000 plants using plugs the size of your thumb in about a week.  Plus, and very importantly, it stays where we plant it and doesn’t wander all around.  It’s also useful for improving the aesthetics of a place because it grows tall enough to block site lines, which allows us to create a sense of wandering through a woodland instead of just passing above it.

Bee keeping associations and independent bee keepers are enjoying the amazing benefits of our Pycnanthemum incanum var. incanum for solving the summer dearth, which is the period around August when few flowers are available to feed honey bees.  To ensure that hives have plenty of food during this period, honey farmers will mow their stands of Pycnanthemum incanum var. incanum in early-mid June, or depending on their location and growing season, to have peak flower production when their bees need the most help.

ArcheWild maintains two seed production plots of this amazing strain – one in Princeton, NJ and another in Saxonburg, PA.  Call us if you have about 5 acres or more for growing seed.

To order this special restoration-worthy Pycnanthemum incanum var. incanum, you should specify its accession code, which is PYINI-2875.  We offer several other strains of this species for different parts of the East Coast and for different purposes.  Just call our office and ask to talk to the nursery manager to see which other strains are available this year.

USDA range map.

All plant images © 2012-2020 ArcheWild.