Gettin’ down with Downy wood mint

Flowering now in the garden is Blephilia ciliata, a little-known clumping mint cousin, native from Vermont south to Georgia and west to Texas, where it occurs in open woods and meadows. In form, Blephilia ciliata is a woodland version of bee balm without the pesky spreading tendency. Downy wood mint forms a 1.5′ tall x 1.5′ wide clump of upright hairy stems, topped, starting for us in mid-May with whorls of lavender flowers. Like its cousin, bee balm, Blephilia ciliata is a favorite of native bees. Soils with average to slightly dry moisture levels are ideal. Medicinally, Blephilia was used by Native Americans as a headache treatment, and for culinarily uses, the foliage is both eaten and used to brew teas.

Blephilia ciliata

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