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Native Wildflowers of the North Dakota Grasslands

JPG -- species photo

Drummond False Pennyroyal (Hedeoma drummondii)

Except for a single collection in Williams County, Drummond false pennyroyal is restricted in North Dakota to counties south or west of the Missouri River. Elsewhere, the plant occurs from southern Saskatchewan to southwestern California and northern Mexico at elevations below 7,500 ft.

Drummond false pennyroyal is a fragrant, hairy perennial up to 8 inches tall. Stems can be solitary from a weak taproot or numerous from a branching caudex (hardened stem base). Leaves are about 1/2 inch long and very narrow. Blue or rose-lavender flowers occur in groups of 2 to 6 along the upper stem. These flowers are only about 1/4 inch long, and the corollas are divided into upper and lower lips. Each flower produces four one-seeded nutlets with a hard cover.

Look for Drummond false pennyroyal during June on dry native prairie pastures where soils are rocky or gravelly. There is little information on the effects of grazing on this plant. Drummond false pennyroyal smells and tastes like peppermint and is served as such in Mexico. Other Hedeomas are used as medicines, teas, and meat flavorings in Mexico and South America, and are sold as "oregano."

Drummond false pennyroyal is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae) which contains about 3,500 species worldwide. Mints are well known for producing a large variety of oils such as lavender, horehound, and thyme. Catnip is also in the mint family. The generic name Hedeoma is derived from the Greek hedys, "sweet," and osme, "scent." There are about 25 species of this genus in the Western Hemisphere. The eminent English botanist George Bentham (1800-1884) described this species for science in 1836, in honor of Thomas Drummond (1780-1835) who made the first collections of many North American plants.

Return to Lamiaceae (The Mint Family)
Next Species -- Rough False Pennyroyal (Hedeoma hispidum)

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