Lycopus Americanus OR.

Lycopus Americanus OR.

Lycopus Americanus

There are several Lycopus species in Minnesota, all with similar clusters of small, white, tubular flowers at the leaf axils, most growing in the same type of habitat at the same time, often next to each other. American Water Horehound is most easily distinguished by its deeply lobed lower leaves, which the others all lack. Northern Bugleweed (Lycopus uniflorus) is otherwise distinguished by its short calyx, the lobes not exceeding the fruits; Rough Bugleweed (Lycopus asper) by its (usually) hairy stem and calyx; Virginia Bugleweed (Lycopus virginicus) by its broader, hairier leaves, stamens not extending out of the floral tube, and short calyx. Wild Mint (Mentha arvensis) also has clusters of small flowers in the axils, but it has usually pink to lavender flowers, and a strong mint scent when leaves are crushed. Lycopus species are not aromatic.


A variety of insects visit the flowers, primarily for nectar, especially short-tongued bees, wasps, and flies. Other floral visitors include long-tongued bees, butterflies, skippers, and beetles. The caterpillars of Sphinx eremitus (Hermit Sphinx) feed on the foliage of this and other bugleweeds (as well as other members of the Mint family). Other insect feeders include such aphids as Kaltenbachia ulmifusa (Slippery Elm Gall Aphid), which feeds on the roots of Lycopus spp. during the summer, Hyalomyzus sensoriatus and Hyalomyzus eriobotryae, and Tiliphagus lycoposugus. Larvae of the gall flies Neolasioptera lycopi and Neolasioptera mitchellae also feed on these plants. Because the leaves of American Bugleweed are bitter-tasting, they are not often eaten by mammalian herbivores.American Bugleweed is a fairly typical member of the Mint family; it isn't particularly showy. There are several Lycopus spp. in Illinois, and they can be difficult to distinguish.

However, American Bugleweed is easy to identify because its lower leaves have basal lobes that are narrow and deep. Other Lycopus spp. usually have leaves with wedge-shaped or rounded bottoms that are coarsely dentate along the entire length of their margins. If any lobes are present on the leaves of these latter species, they are more shallow and wide. Another common name of Lycopus americanus is Common WaterThe members of this group are non-aromatic mints and are typical of wet sites. The various species are distinguished on the basis of technical details. They are sometimes called bugleweeds because of the resemblance of each flower to a bugle. Other species have less coarsely toothed leaves. The genus name is from the Greek lycos ("a wolf") and pous ("foot") and refers to the likeness of some species' leaves to a wolf's footprint. About 10 species of Lycopus occur in eastern North America; most are very similar, making identification difficult.(Source:www.illinoiswildflowers.info)



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