Lamiaceae, the mint family.
Plant: Square, wooly stems, with aromatic/minty leaves, bear dense terminal spikes of light pink to white flowers.
Flowers: Pink to white, tiny, bilateral flowers in dense, often branched, terminal spike. Flowers have four protruding stamens, that give the spike a fuzzy look from a distance.
Leaves: Opposite, round to ovate, sessile, and serrated. Leaves are sparsely hairy above, wooly below.
Fruit: Four-seeded capsule.
Habitat: Wood boundaries, old gardens, moist open areas.
Apple mint is native to Europe, and has been introduced into North America
as a garden plant in a variety of cultivars.
It has also been hybridized with other mints, such as Spearmint.
The distinctive characteristics of apple mint are the wooly stems, rounded,
sessile leaves, and dense terminal spike.
It shares some or all of these characteristics with some varieties of
other mints, specifically Horse Mint and Spearmint, but the most typical
varieties of these species have more elongated leaves, and Spearmint
usually has smooth stems (though there are wooly varieties).
Apple mint is my best guess for the plant in these pictures.
The species typically has a pleasant fragrance; there are varieties that
smell of apple and pineapple. The leaves are sometimes used to make tea
Like other mints, it spreads through underground rhizomes, and can be
difficult to eradicate, though apple mint is not as much a problem in
this regard as some other species.
Where to find it:
One location, on the east border of the park near the medical building
parking lots, undoubtably an escaped garden plant.