Pycnanthemum virginianum, Michigan State University, W. J. Beal Botanical Garden, 7/22/04.

Pycnanthemum virginianum, Michigan State University, W. J. Beal Botanical Garden, 7/22/04.

Scientific name : Pycnanthemum virginianum
Synonyms : Koellia virginiana
Common name : Virginia mountain mint
Family : Lamiaceae
Origin : Eastern United States
Description : Pycnanthemum virginianum is a perennial that grows to 1 m tall. The stem often branches considerably above the midpoint but is less so than P. tenuifolium. This is another narrow-leaf plant with leaves 3 to 6 cm long and 6 to 11 mm wide, making them in general a little wider than P. tenuifolium. The flowers are similar to those of P. tenuifolium.
Distribution : P. virginianum is found over much eastern United States from central Maine to North Dakota south to Oklahoma Mississippi and Florida. Within its range the species is found in a variety of habitats including dry to wet thickets, meadows, moist depressions in prairies, gravel shores, upland woods and occasionally in peat bogs.
Blooming period : In Michigan the plant begins to blooming in mid to late July. Fernald[5] gives the composite blooming period for its range as July to September
Importance : Pycnanthemum virginianum is possibly the most often mentioned member of the genus in the major works on American honey plants[15, 10 and 12]. While there seems to be no experimentally determined honey potentials data available for the species, my observations, as well as those of Frank Pellett, suggest that where it is sufficiently common, it must contribute, and perhaps contribute significantly, to the honey crop.
Additional information : Pellett[13 and 15 ] seems to suggest that the species would be easy to naturalize.
Reference : 1. Ayers, G. S. 2004. Understanding the other side of beekeeping, Part 4. Environmental influences. American Bee Journal144:39-45.
2. Ayers, G. S. and J. R. Harman. Bee Forage of North America and the Potential for Planting for Bees. In: The Hive and the Honey Bee (J. M. Graham Ed.). Dadant and Sons Inc. Hamilton, Illinois
3. Ayers, G. S. R. A. Hoopingarner and M. Flechter. 1998. The Qualities of Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum pilosum) Honey Produced in a Cage with No Other Floral Source. American Bee Journal 138:367-371.
4. Ayers, G. S., A. Wroblewska dnd R. A. Hoopingarner. 1991. Perennial Diversionary Planting Desighed to Reduce Pesticide Mortality of Honey Bees in Apple Orchards. American Bee Journal 131:247-252.
5. Fernald, M. L. 1970. Grays Manual of Botany (eighth edition). D. Van Nostrand Co. New. York.
6. Griffith, A. O. 1911. Motherwort a good honey plant. Gleanings in Bee Culture 39:40.
7. Howes, F. N. 1979. Plants and Beekeeping. Faber and Faber. London.
8. Jablonski, B. 1968. Wydajnosc Miodowa Wazniejsych Roslin Miododajnych w Warunkach Polski. Pszczelnicze Zeszyty Naukowe 12(3)117-126.
9. Jablonski, B. 1986. Nektarowanie I Wydajnosc Miodowa Wazniejszych Roslin Miododajnych W Warunkach Polski. Pszczelnicze Zeszyty Naukowe 12(3)117-126.
10. Lovell, J. H. 1926, Honey Plants of North America. A. I. Root Co. Medina, OH.
11. Oertel, E. 1939. Honey and Pollen Plants of the United States. USDA Circular 554. U. S. Government Printing Office. Washington D.C.
12. Pammel, L. H. and C. M. King. 1930. Iowa Geological Survey Bul. No. 7, Honey Plants of Iowa. Iowa Geological Survey, Des Moines, Iowa.
13. Pellett, F. C. Useful Honey Plants. American Bee Journal, Hamilton Illinois. 16 pages. (Document is not dated, but the earliest reference found has been 1948)
14. Pellett, F. C. 1945 Progress in Honey Plant Garden. In Report of the State Apiarist for the Year Ending December 32, 1944. State of Iowa
15. Pellett, F. C. 1976. American Honey Plants. Dadant and sons. Hamilton, IL.
16. Philip, M. M., and G. S. Ayers. 1998. Continued Studies on the Production of Unifloral Honey Within a Cage. American Bee Journal 138:523-527.
17. USDA, NRCS. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.
18. Wroblewska, A., G. S. Ayers and R. A. Hoopingarner. 1989. Nectar Productrion Dynamics and Honey Potential of Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum pilosum Nutt.) American Bee Journal 138:195-200.

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