Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2015 Notable Native of the Year

The Herb Society of America selects a "Notable Native" plant every year. It is so important to honor our native plants many of which are being overrun by invasive plants. So many of our native plants have herbal uses either culinary or medicinal and this years Notable Native is no exception. We always called it "Stonemint" because it often grows in rocky, shale, shallow areas. It makes a very strong minty tea. Another common name is Dittany. Whatever name you call it - it is a great native to know. Below some of the information shared by The Herb Society of America.
Family: Lamiaceae
Latin Name: Cunila origanoides (L.) Britton
Common Names: Common dittany, Maryland dittany, Frost flowers, Fairy skirts, Stonemint

Growth: Perennial subshrub to 18 inches
Hardiness: Zones 5 – 8

Light: Full sun to part shade
Soil: Dry, rocky, shallow
Water: Moderately dry, tolerates drought once established
Use: Traditional medicinal and beverage plant; ornamental
Propagation: Seed, division, spring and summer stem cuttings



History

The genus name Cunila is from the Greek konilee for marjoram and the species name origanoides is from Origanum, resembling oregano. The common name, dittany, is from the similarities between this plant and Origanum dictamnus, dittany of Crete. O. dictamnus is quite similar in size and appearance, including delicate purple to pinkish flowers and fragrance.

Historically, the plant was used as a stimulant and tonic to act on the nervous system. The Cherokee used the plant as an analgesic for headache, a cold remedy, snakebite remedy, febrifuge and as a gynecological aid to induce menstruation.

1 comment:

Marilyn said...

I have never heard of this plant, something new for me.