Last spring, we bought a neat little native wildflower from Wilcox Nursery over in Largo. We were intrigued by the yummy minty smell at the time, and the promise of hordes of tiny flowers in the fall. Well, fall has arrived, and the Georgia Calamint (Calamintha georgiana) has delivered the promised buds and blooms, the sheer number of which are hard to appreciate in this photograph.
Up close, the flowers resemble those of Florida Pennyroyal (Piloblepis rigida), another native member of the Mint family (Lamiaceae). The flavor and smell of mint from the foliage has a bit of savory spice to it, which is most likely why its other common name is Georgia Basil. Some write of using this plant as seasoning or for teas.
Our plant is fairly small still, though it's said to grow 2 feet high by 3 feet wide. This species is actually not really found in the wild this far south, though it's common a little further north, including (as you might guess) Georgia. Here in Florida, it's only found in a few counties in the extreme north. It does well here, though, and apparently can be propagated by cuttings if they're kept sufficiently moist.
Though this small plant hasn't put on a whole lot of new growth in the last six months, it seems to have established itself well. It's said to be deciduous, so the small needle-leaves will apparently fall off during the winter. In the meantime, we're in peak flowering season, which will last a couple of weeks. Bees, small butterflies, and tiny nectar-seeking ants seem to be loving it, and so are we.