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Genus of the Week

Week of Mar. 30-Apr. 5

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This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of all available Web resources on a particular genus.

This week's genus:


P. tenuifolium
(photo copyright 2001 by J. Forman)

Subclass: Dicotyledoneae
Superorder: Asteridae
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae): The Mints
Number of Species: approximately 20
Root: Greek, from puknos (thick) and a++nqoj(?)(flower), a reference to the dense clusters of flowers this genus produces.

The genus Pycnanthemum has characteristics typical of the Mint family: aromatic leaves, clusters of small yet beautiful white/pink/lavender flowers, and extensive vegetative propagation. Species of this genus are known to hybridize, and many are polyploids. There is still discussion as to whether some recognized species are actually hybrids or varieties.

Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Pycnanthemum species:


  1. Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
  2. Neiring, William A. and Nancy C. Olmstead., eds. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1979.

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