One of the best butterfly nectar plants in the Northwest -- Also known as Western Giant Hyssop.
In Washington and British Columbia this handsome native mint occurs mostly east of the Cascades. Further south, in Oregon and California, it shows up on both sides of the mountains, including in the Coastal Range, and in an amazing diversity of elevations, from low valleys to more than 7,000 feet.
Beginning in mid-summer, established plants send up numerous pink, purple, or white flower spikes that attract a riot of bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies. Where this plant overlaps with the migration route of western monarch butterflies, it is considered a favored nectar source, and should be prioritized in habitat restoration projects.
While horsemint can tolerate summer heat, it isn't drought-tolerant and thrives in damp soils such as streambanks, gutter downspout areas, and ditches. This is also a plant that can take some partial shade. In fact it tends to grow taller (more than 4-feet in height) in shaded areas, while it stays shorter in full sun. For gardeners co-existing with wildlife, this is also a plant that is usually ignored by deer and rabbits.
Like most native mints, horsemint is wonderfully and extremely fragrant, with a strong minty/anise-like aroma. It can be used in the same way as any mint, and makes a charming tea.