2019 Wildflower of the Year

Pycnanthemum tenuifolium


This wonderful member of the mint family (Lamiaceae) is native throughout the central and eastern United States and can be found in dry, open rocky woods, prairies, fields, and roadsides. Versatile and easy to grow, this tough little perennial is at home in a variety of conditions from moist to dry, well-drained soils and full sun to partial shade.

Narrow-leaf mountain mint in winter.

Beginning in mid-summer, narrow-leaf mountain-mint explodes with prolific small but showy white flowers borne at the top of the stems. These flowers are full of nectar and attract an incredibly diverse mix of beneficial insects and native pollinator species including bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, beetles, and moths. The diminutive but nectar-rich flowers last well through the end of summer, making this long-blooming insect magnet a must-have for any pollinator garden.

Unlike other mints that have a tendency to spread aggressively, this species is fairly well-behaved and typically maintains a compact, mounding form throughout the year. It combines long lasting structure

with graceful airiness, and its persistent form pairs well later in the season with the sometimes floppy fall-blooming asters and grasses. In fact, as attractive as this species is in the heat of summer, it is perhaps even more attractive in the late fall and into winter when the dark gray seed heads offer a striking contrast to the fading yellow foliage beneath them. These seed heads persist on the plant long after its leaves have dropped, providing spectacular winter interest, especially on frosty mornings.


Pick up a free brochure and seeds of narrow-leaf mountain mint by stopping by the Garden!

Can’t make it to the Garden? We’ll send the seeds to you! Send a self-addressed, stamped business-letter envelope to:

North Carolina Botanical Garden
Campus Box 3375, UNC-CH
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3375

About the Wildflower of the Year program