Crested late-summer mint, Elsholtzia
FULL SCIENTIFIC NAME
Elsholtzia ciliata (Thunb.) Hylander
FAMILY NAME COMMON
FAMILY SCIENTIFIC NAME
Synonyms: Elsholtzia cristata Willd., Elsholtzia patrinii (Lepechin) Garke
Elsholtzia ciliata is a shallow-rooted annual that grows 0.3-1.0 m (1.0-3.3 ft.) in height. The leaves are petioled, ovate to lancolate and 3-7 cm (1.2-2.8 in.) long. The leaves have acute or short-acuminate tips, tapered bases, and crenate-serrate margins. The flowers are located on spikes 2-5 cm (0.8-2 in.) long. The bracts are 3 mm (0.1 in.) in size, rotund, cuspidate, ciliate, and closely imbricate with each being below and close to 2 or 3 flowers. The flowers are 4 mm (0.2 in.) long, pale blue, and secund on the spike (which is a good field marker). The corollas of the flowers are villous around the lips. Flowers are in bloom from July to September. Another characteristic of this plant is that it is strongly scented (not necessarily pleasantly) as many mints are. Page References Fernald 1250, Gleason & Cronquist 447, Holmgren 420, Magee & Ahles 890. See referece section below for full citations.
Elsholtzia ciliata spreads by small seeds. These seeds have a very high percent germination. They are most likely spread mechanically.
The native range of Elsholtzia ciliata is in Asia, from Siberia to China, Japan, India and the countries of Southeast Asia. In the United States it is found in North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia and North Carolina. In New England it has been reported from Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
HISTORY OF INTRODUCTION IN NEW ENGLAND
The first report of this plant in North America was in the small town of Notre Dame du Lac in Termiscouata County, Quebec in 1887. It was found in a clearing near a mill, and there was no evidence of cultivation. The next report of this plant was in a railroad yard in New Limerick, Maine in 1909. New Limerick is located approximately 100 miles south of Notre Dame du Lac, Quebec. In 1938, it was found in Chelsea, Vermont in a dooryard and in 1943 in Revere Beach, Massachusetts along a sidewalk (again, in an "ill-kept" dooryard).
HABITATS IN NEW ENGLAND
Abandoned Field, Edge, Pasture, Railroad Right-of-Way, Roadside, Utility Right-of-Way, Vacant Lot, Yard or Garden. This plant has been found in railroad yards, along roads/sidewalks and at the edges of forests. It can be abundant along natural trap rock ridgetops. It appears to require some disturbance to become established.
While the actual status of this plant as an invasive is still under question, Elsholtzia ciliata can form rather dense stands and has obviously been spreading.
Documentation required: A specific photograph or mounted snippet of the inflorescence. Best time for documentation: Late summer, fall.
USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program General information including native distribution
PLANTS database Distribution map and additional links
Integrated Taxonomic Information System General taxonomic information
Anonymous. 1889. Proceedings of the Botanical Club A.A.A.S., Toronto Meeting, August 29 to Sept 3, 1889. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 16:243.
Fernald, M.L. and K.M. Wiegand. 1910. A summer's botanizing in eastern Maine and western New Brunswick. Rhodora 12:117, 142.
Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's Manual of Botany 8th edition. American Book Company, New York.
Gleason, H.A. and A.C. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada 2nd edition. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.
Hinckley, C. 1944. Two plants newly introduced in eastern Massachusetts. Rhodora 46:315-316.
Holmgren, N.H. 1998. Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.
Magee, D.W and H.E. Ahles. 1999. Flora of the Northeast. University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst.
Northrop, J.I. and A.B. Northrop. 1890. Plant notes from Tadousac and Temiscouata county, Canada. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 17:29.
USDA, NRCS. 2001. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1. (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.