Agastache urticifolia

horse mint

Habit: this fibrous-rooted perennial grows to 5 feet tall, and produces leafy stems and bristly flowering spikes, usually forming large colonies where it settles. Its square stems emerge from a woody crown, and bear numerous opposite pairs of elliptic to heart-shaped leaves. Blades are large, 4 inches long by 3 inches wide, and have serrated margins and a pungent fragrance. The flowering spikes are crowded with whorls of small tubular blossoms. The corolla is formed by pinkish to rose petals, dark rose sepals, and 2 pairs of long, protruding stamens, a feature that gives the flowering spike its stubbly appearance.

Ecology:¬†Agastache urticifolia is found in a variety of habitats, including semi-most coniferous forests, sagebrush steppe and meadows, from low elevations to 10’000 feet. It is native of Western North America, occurring from southeastern British Columbia, through eastern Washington, Oregon and southern California, and east to the Rocky Mountains.

Growing conditions: it enjoys full to partial sun, and moist to fairly dry, well-drained soils. It grows well in a rock garden, or open woods. During the heat of the summer, the sight of the blooming flowers, and the refreshing minty scent of the leaves stimulates a synesthetic feeling of easiness. Native Americans crushed the foliage of this species and of other Agastache species to make a strong herbal tea.

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USDA Zones: 4a to 9b
Map courtesy of USDA-NRCS Plants Database.