Highlands Biological Station buildings remain closed to visitors with the exception of limited visitor hours for the Nature Center.  HBS Botanical Garden trails remain open, and in accordance with University policy masks and physical distancing are required on the HBS campus.  Highlands Biological Station currently plans to offer academic and public programming in summer 2021, observing University mandated Covid-19 safety protocols.  For the safety of the HBS summer community, before being permitted to work or study at HBS prospective summer students, teaching faculty, and researchers must provide documentation of (1) having received a Covid-19 vaccine or (2) a negative Covid-19 test taken within 3 days of planned arrival.  Please see the HBS website for full summer 2021 Covid-19 safety policies and procedures, and bear in mind that University policy and HBS program plans are subject to change in light of developments with the pandemic this spring. 

Pycnanthemum muticum


Pycnanthemum muticum is a member of the Lamiaceae family and is commonly referred to as “Mountain Mint”. As the common name infers, this plant has a strong spearmint fragrance that offers an added level of sensory experience. Being in the Mint Family, the stems of this herbaceous perennial are square and are a good indicator of many other plants in the Lamiaceae family. Clustered inflorescences are another distinct ID feature that delineate this species from other Mint relatives.

In its native range this plant finds itself in sandy soils, bogs, moist meadows and fields, and wet forest types. Being dubbed “Mountain Mint” doesn’t limit its distribution, as this plant is found from Mississippi to Missouri and through to Massachusetts.

Flowers are often white or a pale purple color and emerge in summer, persisting through until early fall. Insects species of all kinds will flock to this plant due to the flowers high nectar content, in particular butterflies and bumble bees (Bombus sp.)

Apart from flowers, the bracts of “Mountain Mint”, which sub-tend the flower heads, emerge earlier in the growing season. These bracts are silvery and have a slight pubescence which only further add to the sensory offerings.