Downy Woodmint is a perennial native plant found in Eastern North America and grows from Wisconsin to Vermont all the way down south to Florida. Woodmint is aromatic and medicinal and stands about 3 feet tall with lovely light green lanceolate ovate and slightly serrated leaves. The striking foliage and silvery appearance makes for a nice contrast amongst other flowers. Downy Woodmint’s white to light blue flowers are arranged in whorls and separated by a row of fringed bracket like pagodas, hence one of its common names, Pagoda Plant. There may be as many as 6 to 7 pagodas full of flowers per stem.
The flowers are an important early season pollinator plant blooming from May all the way through September. Downy Woodmint was once revered as a ceremonial smudging herb by some Native American tribes and worked with to help individuals connect to the spirit realm.
Medicinally, this attractive plant shares virtues with other aromatic mint family plants. An herbal tea made of the leaves can be utilized in the treatment of indigestion, colic, coughs, colds, chills and fevers. Pagoda Plant is also an alterative which helps to move the blood and clear toxins out of our system. A warm poultice of the leaves can help relieve a headache and sinus congestion. Chewing the fresh leaves helps kill bacteria in the mouth and the gums. The plant’s leaves can also be rubbed upon the skin to deter mosquitos and other pests.
Flower Pic Credit: Erin O'Hara