Agastache cana (Mosquito Plant)

Agastache cana (Mosquito Plant)

Photograph by Patrick Alexander at (2009)
Scientific Name with Author
Agastache cana (W.J. Hooker) Wooton & Standley
Common Name
Mosquito Plant
Rare Plant Conservation Scorecard Summary
Overall Conservation Status Documented Threats Actions Needed

No Information

Surveys to determine rarity

Semi-woody, profusely branched, erect perennial; stems 20-100 cm long; leaves ovate, lanceolate, or elliptic, 2-3 times longer than wide, 8-12 mm long, grayish green because of light pubescence especially on lower surface; flowers rose-pink, 12-25 mm long, in whorls in compact spikes, zygomorphic, petals 5, fused into a tube, the two small upper petals extending forward much like the visor of a cap, the three larger lower petals forming a reflexed lip; fruit dividing into 4 dark nutlets each about 2 mm long. Flowers June to September.
Similar Species
There are several species of Agastache in New Mexico. Agastache cana has the following combination of characters: calyx tube longer than 3 mm, the upper calyx teeth 1/4-1/2 the total length of the calyx, the stems slightly woody with the bark peeling at the base of the stem, and leaves 2-3 times longer than wide.
New Mexico, Dona Ana, Grant, Luna, and Sierra counties; Texas, El Paso and Hudspeth counties.
Crevices and bases of granite cliffs or in canyons with small-leaved oaks at the upper edge of the desert and lower edge of the piƱon-juniper zone, at 1,400-1,800 m (4,600-5,900 ft).
Martin and Hutchins (1981) illustrate a considerably expanded range over that mapped by Sanders (1987), the species according to them occurring in Bernalillo and Otero counties, in addition to southwestern counties. This expanded distribution must be considered as one proposed before Agastache was better understood through Sanders careful study. Henrickson and Johnson (1997) record the species from Hueco Tanks and the Franklin Mountains in western Texas, and cite south-central New Mexico as the remainder of the range, but they do not indicate the species to be known in Mexico. Wooton and Standley cite the range of the species correctly as "mountains of western Texas and southern New Mexico, but then give part of the range for New Mexico as "headwaters of the Pecos," an inconsistency (if not outright error) in citation of range. Habitat is somewhat restricted, that is, on igneous rock on north-facing or northeast-facing slopes at the ecotone between desert and scrub. No authors note rarity.
Conservation Considerations
Clearly this is a regional endemic. It occurs in areas not easily accessible to collectors, development, or even domestic livestock (if they utilize this species). There are no apparent threats to the species under current land uses.
Important Literature

Henrickson, J. and M.C. Johnston. 1997. A flora of the Chihuahuan Desert region, ed. 1.2, 2 vols. Published by J. Henrickson, Los Angeles (trial version for correction).

Martin, W.C. and C.R. Hutchins. 1981. A Flora of New Mexico, vol. 2. J. Cramer, Vaduz.

*Sanders, R.W. 1987. Taxonomy of Agastache section Brittonastrum (Lamiaceae-Nepeteae). Systematic Botany Monographs 15:1-92.

Wooton, E.O. and P.C. Standley. 1915. Flora of New Mexico. Contributions from the U.S. National Herbarium 19:1-794.

Information Compiled By
Richard Spellenberg 1999

For distribution maps and more information, visit Natural Heritage New Mexico