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Hedeoma pulcherrima
(Mescalero pennyroyal, beautiful pennyroyal)

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



Family: Lamiaceae

Scientific Name: Hedeoma pulcherrima Wooton & Standley

Synonyms: None

Vernacular Name: Mescalero pennyroyal, beautiful pennyroyal

R-E-D Code: 1-1-3

Description: Perennial herbs; stems (15)20-30(40) cm tall, few to numerous, ascending or very shortly decumbent, woody below, herbaceous above, branching frequently in lower half, villous below, sparsely to densely puberulent above with tightly retrorse hairs; leaves thick, membranous, elliptical-oblong, 8-18 mm long, 2-6.5 mm wide, margins entire to obscurely serrate, base elongated, petiole short or none, apex obtuse, glabrous above, strigulose below and on margins, nerves conspicuous; cymules well-spaced along upper 2/3 of stems with 3-5(7) flowers per cymule, peduncles 1-2 mm long, pedicels 2-3.5 mm long, minutely puberulent; calyx 6-7 mm long, the tube 3-5 mm long, slightly gibbous below for about 1/2 the tube length, the distended region about 1.2 mm wide, typically moderately hirsute, upper calyx teeth connate for 1/3-1/4 their length, forming an upper lip 1.5-2 mm long, the lobes nearly subulate, about 0.3 mm wide at base, about 1.7 mm long, laterally spreading and reflexed but becoming erect and convergent with lower teeth during maturation, hirsute, lower calyx teeth recurved, subulate, about 0.5 mm wide at base, about 2.7 mm long; corolla, tubular, bilabiate, 10-14 mm long, blue, sparsely villous within the throat and densely short pubescent in the tube forming a well-defined annulus 2-3 mm wide, tube 8-10 mm long, throat strongly dilated, about 5 mm wide, upper lip broadly strap-like, slightly emarginate, 3-3.3 mm wide, 3-4 mm long, straight (not upwardly reflexed), lower lip broad, about 7 mm wide and 5 mm long. Flowers July to September.

Similar Species: Hedeoma pulcherrima is similar to other members of the subgenus Saturejoides, especially H. drummondii, a widespread species, from which H. pulcherrima differs by having a slightly larger corolla, less swollen calyx tube, less convergent calyx teeth, and mostly entire, larger leaves. Hedeoma drummondii has an odor similar to peppermint, whereas H. pulcherrima has no minty odor.


Distribution: New Mexico, Lincoln, and Otero counties, Capitan, White, and Sacramento mountains.

Habitat: Usually on steep hillsides, in rocky and/or disturbed habitats, including roadsides, in montane coniferous forest and piņon-juniper woodland; 1,500-2,350 m (5,000-9,000 ft).

Remarks: 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: Does not compete well with grasses or encroaching vegetation. The effects of livestock grazing and forest fire on this species have not been studied.

Important Literature (*Illustration):

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

Irving, R.S. 1980. Status report, Hedeoma pulcherrimum. For U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office, Albuquerque.

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

Wooton, E.O. and P.C. Standley. 1913. Descriptions of new plants preliminary to a report upon the flora of New Mexico. Contributions from the U.S. National Herbarium 16:109-196.

Information Compiled By: David Bleakly, 1999; last updated 2009

Agency Status:
Taxon USFWS State of NM USFS BLM Navajo Nation Natural Heritage NM Global Rank
Hedeoma pulcherrimaSoCSoC...S2G2


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