Outdoors Recreation

In Bloom: Hairy Pagoda

By Suzanne Wodek

Blephilia hirsuta, commonly known as hairy wood-mint or hairy pagoda plant, is a species of herbaceous perennial in the mint family, Lamiaceae. This perennial plant is normally 12 to 47 inches tall with a central stem covered with long white hairs and ending in several whorls of flowers.

Hairy pagoda. Anne Holmes, artist

It is not generally used as food by humans, but is often planted in gardens for its beauty and pleasant aroma. When the leaves are crushed or damaged, they give off a minty scent. It may have some beneficial medicinal properties, given that a related species Blephilia ciliata historically has been used by the Cherokee as a poultice to treat headaches.

Honey bees, mason bees, miner bees, flies, hoverflies and butterflies all pollinate the flowers of this plant. Many of these pollinators pollinate the hairy wood mint because they get a nectar reward, although some are after the pollen itself. The foliage probably isn’t attractive to mammalian herbivores as a food source.

Upcoming Events
C.P.A. Series: Preventing Mosquito Outbreaks to Protect Pollinators, with Rachel Meriwether
Monday, May 13, 6–7:30 p.m.
While male mosquitoes may consume a little nectar and thus help pollinate some plants, their female mates are human bloodsuckers and vectors for diseases! Insecticides and equipment that kill adult mosquitoes kill harmless, beneficial insects (including pollinators) as well. Adult mosquito killers are among a pollinator conservationist’s greatest challenge. Learn ways to keep mosquito populations in check without harming pollinators. Rachel Meriwether is head of the Horticultural Department at Blue Ridge Community College. $25 for non-BGA members; 25 percent off for members

Nature Photography for Beginners, with Adam Duff
Sunday, May 19, 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Join us for a hands-on photography workshop, covering some basic technical knowledge of your camera, perspective and the basics of nature photography. This workshop will help you to better understand your camera and create stunning images of the natural world. We will have a brief indoor tutorial followed by a guided photography hike in the gardens. This workshop is for anyone looking to fill in any gaps of knowledge and learn new skills when photographing nature. Bring your digital DSLR camera and weather-appropriate clothes. We will be spending approximately 30 minutes inside and 1.5 hours outside in the gardens. $35 for non-BGA members; 25 percent off for members.

Botanical Gardens, located at 151 W. T. Weaver Boulevard, is a nonprofit organization housing a collection of plants native to the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Gardens are open sunrise to sunset. The gift shop, carrying garden-themed items and books, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated and memberships are encouraged. Learn more at AshevilleBotanicalGardens.org.

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