Pagoda Plant

Downy Pagoda Plant or Blephilia ciliata or Downy Wood Mint

Downy Pagoda Plant © 2010 Bo Mackison

Another wildflower that I photographed on my brief foray to Missouri. This is Blephilia ciliata, commonly known by a variety of namesOhio horsemint, Downy Pagoda Plant, Downy Woodmint. It is a Missouri native perennial which grows in dry open woods and thickets, clearings, fields and roadsides in the eastern two thirds of the State.

It is a member of the mint family, and while aromatic, it is not as strong as most mints I’ve come across in the more northern climes. It appears to be attractive to butterflies and bees, at least it was in the wildflower garden at Shaw Nature Reserve.

The flowers are blue to purple and bloom from May through September. The plant grow in a circular column, sometimes having as many as six or seven pagodas full of flowers. The larger ones seem to outgrow themselves, and a few were tipped over with the weight of the hundreds of blossoms.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Gandalf says:

    What a fun flower. It also reminds me of a wedding cake.

  2. Another interesting find! I like the way you captured it and showed details as well as its pagoda-like shape.

  3. What a pretty plant that is! The blossoms look as though they are in competition for the pollinators. I’ve not seen anything like it. (I see it’s an eastern US plant.)

    • Bo Mackison says:

      I’d never seen a mint like this one either. And it was huge. I’m more accustomed to smaller plants.

  4. This flower reminded me of so much when I first saw it. With such a close up view, so many interpretations are open. I think the little blue flowers together look like a fancy ribboning for a hat or something, while individually (especially on the middle tier towards the right) they look the head of a cartoon-looking elephant. Just an observation. Hehe.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Molly, your creativity is blooming!!! What happened to the 3 word deal? 🙂 I’m so glad to get your comments…

  5. I haven’t seen a mint plant like that. Lovely blue speckled blossoms!

  6. Amazing flower and fantastic photograph! LOVE the blue and shape and description.

  7. Preston says:

    I really do enjoy the blue robin eggness of this plant. Beautiful.

  8. This is a really sweet shot. What a flower, what a capture. Gorgeous color.

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