Cunila origanoides

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: common dittany 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: Eastern United States
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Lavender
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Herb
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Grow in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers dry, sandy soils. Easily grown from seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cunila origanoides, commonly called dittany, is a Missouri native plant which grows 8-16" tall and typically occurs in dry, rocky, or open woods, clearings, slopes and prairies. A mint family member which features many-branched, square, wiry stems and clusters of small, purplish (rarely white), two-lipped flowers (note the 2 long protruding stamens and pistil) arising from the leaf axils in mid-summer to fall. Oval, serrated, stalkless leaves are pleasantly aromatic. Leaves can be used in teas and have in the past been used as folk medicine remedies for fever and headaches. At first frost, a phenomenon popularly known as "frost flowers" may occur wherein watery sap which is pushed out of stem cracks near the base becomes frozen in ribbon-like, 2" projections.

Genus name comes from the Latin name for a mint.

Specific epithet means resembling oregano.


No serious insect or disease problems. May spread somewhat aggressively and develop a straggly appearance.


An interesting perennial for the herb garden, border front, rock garden, native plant garden or naturalized area.