CPC Plant Profile: Torrey's Mountainmint
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Plant Profile

Torrey's Mountainmint (Pycnanthemum torrei)

Photo Credit: Michael Kunz, NCBG
  • Global Rank: N/A
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • State: CT, DC, DE, IL, KS, KY, MD, MO, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, SC, TN, VA, WV
  • Nature Serve ID: 141413
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/08/1989

Perennial herbs forming clumps from rhizomes.  Pycnanthemum torreyi belongs to a group of narrow leaved mountain mints, but is easily distinguished from other species within the group.  The leaves are up to 15mm wide and 3x longer than wide.  Flowers from in tight clusters at branch terminals in July - September and are white with tints of purple. 

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Michael Kunz
  • 10/30/2019

Many populations of Pycnanthemum torreyi throughout its wide range are no longer know to be extant.  In an effort to seed bank this declining species, the North Carolina Botanical Garden began surveys in the NC Piedmont for this species.  We visited multiple sites in the summer of 2019.  Two sites in utility rights of way did not have any plants present.  One appears to have been continually mown for years and the other was cleared of overgrown woody vegetation in the summer of 2019.  This site may still have individuals, but the current management is not beneficial to this species.  A third site was small and flowered poorly due to dense shade.  A forth site stretches along a utility right of way and access road through a forest managed for research and timber production.  Here we found approximately 100 clumps of flowering individuals.
Nick Adams and Mike Kunz (NCBG) returned to the site in the fall of 2019 on two separate dates, successfully collecting seeds for ex situ conservation.  In total, we collected approximately 15,000 seeds that will be split between NCBG’s seed bank and the National Laboratory for Genetic Resource Preservation.  We will continue to monitor the other NC populations for plants and the possibility for additional seed collections in future years.

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Taxon Pycnanthemum torrei
Authority Benth.
Family Lamiaceae
CPC Number 8753
ITIS 32656
Common Names Torrey Mountain-mint
Associated Scientific Names Pycnanthemum torrei
Distribution Pycnanthemum torreyi occurs over a wide range, historically ranging from Georgia north to New Hampshire and west to Illinois.  Although widespread, historical occurrences far outnumber extant, with approximately 35 throughout the wide range.  Many states now consider the species extirpated, and Nature Serve predicts the long term trend of this species in a 50-70% decline.
State Rank
State State Rank
Connecticut S1
District of Columbia SX
Delaware S1
Illinois SH
Kansas SNR
Kentucky SNR
Maryland S1
Missouri SH
North Carolina S1
New Hampshire SH
New Jersey S1
New York S1
Pennsylvania S1
South Carolina SNR
Tennessee S1
Virginia S2?
West Virginia S1

Dry rocky woodlands over mafic, ultramafic or calcareous rock.  Pycnanthemum torreyi occurs in open glades and barrens to partly shaded woodlands.  Many reported sites are associated with utility rights of way and road cuts.

Ecological Relationships

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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