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Hoary Mountain-mint (Pycnanthemum incanum (L.) Michx.)


1.  Recovery Goal

The long-term recovery goal for this species is to ensure that the extant populations are protected with no further losses of habitat or populations.  In addition, it is imperative to implement proper management practices to portions of the recovery habitat of this species in order to allow for the potential reintroduction of self-sustaining populations to historical locations. 


2.  Recovery Objectives(2006-2011)

Objective 1: Ensure protection of the habitat of extant populations through implementation of appropriate management techniques

            Strategy 1 Annual monitoring of existing populations & habitat

            Strategy 2 Promotion of stewardship and awareness among landowners and the public

            Strategy 3 Habitat mapping with Ecological Land Classification (ELC) standards and Conservation Land Tax Incentive Program (CLTIP) guidelines

            Strategy 4 Invasive species removal at existing sites & monitoring

Objective 2: Increase population size of existing populations to self-sustainable levels

            Strategy 1 Determination of species requirements

            Strategy 2 Seed collection and propagation of plant material

            Strategy 3 Planting (augmentation) or site maintenance to increase population size at

                            selected areas, if required

Objective 3: Investigate feasibility of restoring recovery habitat and reintroducing individuals to historic sites

            Strategy 1 Investigation of the effects of prescribed burning

            Strategy 2 Investigation of possibilities for species reintroduction

The recovery objectives for this species place great emphasis on ensuring protection of extant populations. The success of these efforts can be measured through ongoing monitoring of populations and threats, assessment of habitat conditions, and evaluation of the effectiveness of management, stewardship and education programs.  


3.  Approaches for Meeting Recovery Objectives

A wide range of strategies and approaches are recommended for achieving the short-term and long-term recovery goals for Hoary Mountain-mint in Canada. . A summary of recommended activities for species recovery is provided in Table 1. Each type of activity is categorized according to its priority, actions, and anticipated effects.

Table 1.  Strategies and Approaches for Recovery

PriorityObjective StrategyBroad ApproachThreats AddressedSpecific StepsAnticipated Effect
Critical11yearly monitoring Monitor population annually and maintain database of the data collectedOngoing assessment of population status
Necessary 1yearly monitoringSlumpingMonitor effects of slumping on populationsDetermine if there is a need for bank stabilization
Critical 2habitat protection

Accidental destruction,

Dumping, Succession and Fire suppression

Educate landowners and municipalities about species presence, threats and management optionsEnhanced protection for areas that are recognized as endangered species habitat
Critical 3habitat mapping Map current and potential habitat with ELC standards Improved understanding of habitat and its characteristics; provision of information for habitat protection, and identification of potential habitats for introduction
Critical 4invasive removalInvasive speciesRemove invasive species at existing sitesPrevention of the loss of populations through encroachment
Beneficial21population studies Determine species requirementsIdentification of life history attributes, germination requirements, ecological niche, studies of genetic variation should be initiated
Beneficial 2propagation Collect seed and propagate plant materialProvision of plants that can be used as a basis for further studies
Necessary 3reintroductionSmall population sizeIncrease population size at selected areas through planting (reintroduction) or site maintenanceProvision of plants to augment numbers and ensure genetic variability in natural populations
Necessary31habitat restorationSuccession and Fire suppressionInvestigate effects of prescribed burning on Hoary Mountain-mintBurning may increase habitat quality and suitable habitat available for species reintroduction
Beneficial 2propagationSmall population sizeInvestigate possibilities for species reintroductionDetermination of the suitability of reintroduction in historic habitats


4.  Potential Impacts of Recovery Strategy on Other Species/Ecological Processes

Hoary Mountain-mint tends to occur with many prairie/savanna affiliates including:

Andropogon gerardii           Big Bluestem                          S4

Anemone cylindrica            Thimbleweed                         S4

Asclepias tuberosa              Butterfly-weed                       S4

Aster laevis                         Smooth Aster                         S5

Aster oolentangiensis         Sky-Blue Aster                      S4

Elymus canadensis            Canada Wild-rye                   S4S5

Helianthus divaricatus      Woodland Sunflower             S5

Lespedeza capitata            Round-headed Bush-clover    S4

Monarda fistulosa             Wild Bergamot                      S5

Panicum virgatum            Switchgrass                           S4

Quercus velutina              Black Oak                            S4

Schizachyrium scoparium   Little Bluestem                      S4

Most of these species have a rank of S4 in Ontario.  Further inventory of the habitat at these sites may reveal more species that are considered rare in Ontario (S3 or above).  For example, Few-flowered Club-rush is an Endangered species, which occupies similar habitat.  Coordination with the Few-flowered Club-rush recovery team and strategy should be investigated because these species share some similar threats and habitat requirements.  Additionally, both species may benefit from the same recovery actions.  

Much of the habitat in this area appears to be former oak savanna, which is a rare community type in Ontario.  Oak savanna is comprised of open-grown oak trees scattered across the landscape with a ground layer of tallgrass prairie species (Rodger, 1998).  It is possible that Hoary Mountain Mint occurs at these sites due to its affinity for dry open habitats.  It is not considered a prairie species, although other Pycnanthemum species (P. verticillatum var. pilosum, P. virginianum, P. tenuifolium) are considered prairie affiliates and are listed under the Tallgrass Communities Recovery Plan (Rodger, 1998).   Although this habitat may fall under the Tallgrass Communities Recovery plan, the extreme degradation of the habitat, including the lack of sufficient “rare” affiliates may make this area an unsuitable candidate for recovery under the auspices of the Tallgrass Community Recovery plan.  However, this option should be explored in further detail through discussion with members of the Tallgrass Recovery Team.  The small amount of area that represents the current habitat for this species can be easily managed as its own entity, and distinct management practices relating specifically to the habitat requirements of Hoary Mountain Mint should be considered.  

Any management practices put in place for Hoary Mountain-mint would be expected to have a positive effect on all of the species listed above and on the existing habitat.  Much of the habitat is being overrun with invasive species and management processes/activities that focus on the removal of invasive species will be especially important. 

5.  Actions Already Completed or Underway

This species is currently regulated under the Ontario Endangered Species Act.  This affords protection to the species and its habitat.  The current landowners have been informed of the presence of this species on their land through the regulation process (1986).  All landowners and adjacent landowners must be re-contacted in order to establish a communications network and to identify landowner concerns and opinions.

Some recovery actions have already been attempted informally over the last four years (2001-2005).  Small-scale manual removal of invasive species from the area surrounding one population has been ongoing. No assessment of the effectiveness of these actions has taken place.  There have been no recovery actions implemented at the other two sites, apart from the removal of a few shrubs at the "hanging prairie" site.

Seed and plant material were collected by the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) in 1999/2000 and preliminary propagation and seedbank studies have been completed.  In addition, plants propagated in 2000 were planted at a demonstration site at the Cootes Paradise Fishway where they will be used for further research and seed collection. 

Census surveys were conducted in 2000/2001 in areas where there were extant and historic records of Hoary Mountain-mint .  Nearby areas with similar habitat characteristics were also investigated for the presence of previously overlooked plants.  All populations were located within 1m with a Global Positioning System.  In addition, representative herbarium specimens were prepared to document each population.  These vouchers are stored at the RBG herbarium (HAM). 

Ecological Land Classification (ELC) surveys were completed for polygons containing Hoary Mountain-mint, noting also the extent of the Occupied Habitat, Endangered Plant Community, and Habitat Protection Zone within or in the vicinity of that polygon, as required for the Conservation Land Tax Incentive Program (CLTIP) (MNR, 1998).  Mapping was based on available airphotos, and is stored at the RBG in GIS files.  ELC data included floral inventory, soil and topographic description, and management/disturbance scoring.  Summaries of adjacent land-use were also provided.  Special note was made of any factors that may present a threat to the Hoary Mountain-mint populations. The results of the census and ELC surveys will be used to develop appropriate action plans for Hoary Mountain-mint populations in Ontario. 

Some habitat restoration has begun at one site.  The landowners are attempting to remove invasive species and restore the area to oak savanna and open woodland (O’Hara, 2002).

Planning for a prescribed burn at one site was initiated in the fall of 2005.  This effort is being led by Aurora and Guelph District MNR in cooperation with Halton-Peel Woodlands and Wildlife Stewardship.  Site preparation began in fall 2005 with removal of woody invasives and application of herbicide on stumps.  A successful prescribed burn was undertaken in April 2006 resulting in the clearing of woody debris and invasive species such as periwinkle.  Monitoring will continue through 2006 with a possible follow up prescribed burn in the spring of 2007.  

6.   Statement of When One or More Action Plans in Relation to the Recovery Strategy will be Completed

An Action Plan will be prepared by the Recovery Team, and if necessary with the assistance of a Recovery Implementation Group (RIG) by 2009.  It will address research needs, monitoring, site management and restoration.

7.  Evaluation

Performance measures for evaluation of the success of the approaches to recovery set out in this strategy will include the extent to which goals and objectives have been met, specifically:

Objective 1

1)     All populations have been monitored in a consistent manner for at least 3 consecutive years; monitoring results indicate stable or increasing populations

2)     Landowners and the public are aware of the presence of the species and its importance and are participating in recovery

3)     All habitat has been mapped using ELC and CLTIP mapping guidelines

4)     Invasive species have been removed for at least 1 site and effects have been assessed

Objective 2

1)     Species requirements for germination and survival have been determined

2)     Seeds have been collected and stored in a gene bank

3)     Propagation experiments have been completed

4)     Population sizes for at least 2 small sites have been increased to more than 10 plants through planting or habitat improvement

Objective 3

1)     Effects of prescribed burning have been assessed for this species through research and experimentation

2)     Historic sites have been assessed for suitability of reintroduction by seed or plantings