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A skipper butterfly feeding on the nectar of blunt mountain mint, pycnanthemum muticum.
A large patch of blunt mountain mint, pycnanthemu muticum, in Chicago's Lurie garden. Several bees are feeding on the blooms.

Pycnanthemum muticum - mountain mint

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This plant is a party and all the pollinators are invited! 

Don't let its funny-looking name intimidate you (and if it did, don't worry: it's pronounced pick-NAN-thugh-mum): this is simply one of the very best native perennials for attracting a host of pollinators - particularly valuable native bees - to your garden. They  flock by the dozen to the tiny, extremely nectar-rich flowers that appear all summer into fall. Even though those actual flowers aren't terribly showy, this plant has excellent impact in the garden thanks to the set of silvery leaves that festoons the top of each stem. 

Growing naturally over a large portion of eastern North America, this durable perennial grows well in full sun and wet to dry soil. It can be quite vigorous in wet soils, however, so if you don't want it to spread, try growing under drier conditions. Long, slender stems intermix nicely with other perennials, and the silvery effect of the leaves brings a welcome cool tone to summer gardens. Oh, and they're fragrant, giving off a pleasant resinous mint scent if rubbed. 

Vital details:

Plant size: 1-3'/.3-1.0m tall and at least as wide

Light: full sun (6+ hrs/day)

Hardiness: USDA zone 4-8 (Find your hardiness zone)

Pollinator value: attracts an array of pollinators, especially native bees

Notable features: fragrant, native, long blooming.

Pot size: one quart

Plant name: Pycananthemum muticum