Quote of the Week, Perhaps a Bit Longer

"The biological community is a vast and complicated system for sharing and distributing the energy of the sun among a diversity of life forms." ~Martson Bates

6/22/09

A Fragrant Air

Horse mint (Agastache urticifolia), the plant I discussed briefly in the post about the fritillary, is a beautiful and fragrant plant. It has long flower spikes that are filled with many tiny flowers. The flowers tend to be light pink to white with striking purple sepals. As with all mints, the leaves are in pairs, opposite to each other. The leaves are similar to the leaves of nettles, which is where it gets it's species name, urticifolia = nettle leaved.

Horse mint tends to grow in great clusters. When you step into an area where these clusters are growing, the air becomes fragrant with the scent of mint. The sent becomes even stronger and harsher when you crush the leaves. Horse mint has a harsher sent than other plants in the mint family, especially penny royal (Monardella odoratissima) which can often be found in areas where horse mint is growing. The mint family in general is used quite often for food and medicinal purposes and horse mint is no exception. A decocction of leaves has been used for reumatism, an infusion of leaves has been taken for cold medication, leaves placed in babies' blankets have been used for fevers, a cold infusion of leaves has been used for stomach pains, and a poultice of mashed leaves has been applied to swellings.

Horse mint flower spike

The purple sepals of the flower spike

Paired, opposite leaves of the horse mint

Horse mint plant cluster

The white tubular flowers of the horse mint

Sources:

Moerman, Daniel E. (1998). Native American Ethnobotany. Portland, OR: Timber Press.

Blackwell, Laird R. (2006). Great Basin Wildflowers: A Guide to Common Wildflowers of the High Deserts of Nevada, Utah, and Oregon. FalconGuide, Morris Book Publishing, LLC.

1 comment:

danwinnemucca said...

Cool! There's so much out there that I just miss, I'm so glad I have you around!!!!