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Hedeoma apiculata
(McKittrick pennyroyal)

[taxon report][distribution map][all photos][line drawing]



Family: Lamiaceae

Scientific Name: Hedeoma apiculata W.S. Stewart

Synonyms: None

Vernacular Name: McKittrick pennyroyal

R-E-D Code: 2-1-2

Description: An herbaceous perennial forming dense tufts from woody rootstocks; leaves opposite, coriaceous, sessile, lanceolate-elliptic, entire, tapered to a conspicuous apiculate apex, 7-15 mm long, 1.5-3.5 mm wide; flowers solitary or in clusters of 2-3 in upper leaf axils, 3-4 clusters per stem; calyx tubular-funnelform, 8.5-9.0 mm long, teeth lanceolate in two sets; corolla of 5 united petals, showy, pink, about 2 cm long, two-lipped, lower lip broad and spreading, 9-10 mm wide; fruit of 4 nutlets, sticky when wet. Flowers July through August.

Similar Species: None, but Nama xylopodum, which grows in the same habitat, has flowers of similar color and can be mistaken for Hedeoma apiculata when viewed from a distance.


Distribution: New Mexico, Eddy County; Texas, Culberson County; canyons on the eastern slope of the Guadalupe Mountains from Spring Canyon in the south to Double Canyon in the north.

Habitat: Limestone crevices of steep canyon walls; usually on north-facing slopes, but it can occur on any aspect if sheltered and relatively moist at 1,700-2,900 m (5,400-8,400 ft).

Remarks: This species was formerly federally listed as threatened. It was removed from the Federal list on September 22, 1993 (58 FR 49244), after discovery of more populations in inaccessible locations with no threats. The species, however, remains rare and endemic to the Guadalupe Mountains. It occurs at 46 documented sites in an area of about 166 sq km (65 sq mi).

Some sources consider the Latin gender of the genus Hedeoma to be neuter. Thus, the specific epithets, which must agree with the generic name in gender, end in -um. Others consider the Latin gender of Hedeoma to be feminine, thus the specific epithets end in -a. Both spellings are found in current literature.

Conservation Considerations: Trail construction and recreational activities could damage some populations in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. This species appears to tolerate fire; it regenerated well after a catastrophic wildfire in 1990.

Important Literature (*Illustration):

Epling, C. and W.S. Stewart. 1939. A revision of Hedeoma with a review of allied genera. Repertorium specierum novarum regni vegetabilis Beihefte 115:1-49.

Irving, R.S. 1980. The systematics of Hedeoma (Labiatae). Sida 8(3):218-295.

*New Mexico Native Plants Protection Advisory Committee. 1984. A handbook of rare and endemic plants of New Mexico. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1993. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; final rule to delist the plant Hedeoma apiculatum (McKittrick pennyroyal) and remove its critical habitat designation. Federal Register 58:49244-49247.

Information Compiled By: Charlie McDonald, 1999; last updated 2009

Agency Status:
Taxon USFWS State of NM USFS BLM Navajo Nation Natural Heritage NM Global Rank
Hedeoma apiculataSoCSoC...S3G3


Photo credits in header Peniocereus greggii var. greggii © T. Todsen,
Lepidospartum burgessii © M. Howard, Argemone pleiacantha ssp. pinnatisecta © R. Sivinski
©2005 New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council