Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Anise Hyssop

Anise Hyssop, Agastache foeniculum, is a wonderful plant. This is one of the most highly recommended and prized nectar plants. At a recent beekeeper's meeting I helped hand out hundreds of these plants which were all pre-orders. They were sold out well in advance. And best of all they're native to North America!

Garden centers sell them as butterfly and hummingbird plants and sure enough I bet they'll say that about anything in the mint family. It's prized by beekeepers for a reason. I have occasionally found a butterfly on them, mostly the small skippers, but I'd say hands down bees are the number one insect on these plants. From the moment they bloom, usually in June, they immediately draw attention away form other, somewhat more invasive mint plants. The nonnative Nepita Catmint (usually walker's low) which blooms about a month earlier suddenly loses more than half the bee attention they recieved earlier.