Wild Flowers of Pittsburgh

Horse Balm (Collinsonia canadensis)

A big, sloppy mint that likes to grow in the deep woods, with huge leaves (by mint-family standards) and panicles of bizarre yellowish flowers with long projecting stamens. The flowers look like little dragons, and well repay a close look, perhaps with a glass. Only a few of the flowers are open at any one time; the rest are either still in bud or shriveling on the stem, adding to the general appearance of slovenliness. The scent is like cheap artificial lemon perfume. The flowers above were blooming in Scott Township at the end of August; the ones below in the woods near Normalville in the middle of August.

Gray describes the genus (which has only one species in our area) and the species.

COLLINSÒNIA L. HORSE BALM. Calyx ovoid, enlarged and declined in fruit, 2-lipped; upper lip truncate and flattened, 3-toothed, the lower 2-cleft. Corolla elongated, expanded at the throat, somewhat 2-lipped, the tube with a bearded ring within; the 4 upper lobes nearly equal, but the lower much larger and longer, pendent, toothed or lacerate-fringed. Stamens 2 (sometimes 4, the upper pair shorter), much exserted, diverging; anther-cells divergent. — Strong-scented perennials, with large ovate leaves, and yellowish flowers on slender pedicels. (Named in honor of Peter Collinson, early English botanist.)

С. canadensis L. (RICH-WEED, STONE-ROOT.) Nearly smooth, 5-10 dm. high; leaves serrate, pointed, petioled, 1-2 dm. long; panicle loose; corolla 1.5 cm. long, lemon-scented; stamens 2.—Rich moist woods, w. Que. to Wise., s. to Fla. and Mo. July-Sept.


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