En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - December 19, 2005

From: Greensboro, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Edible Plants, Medicinal Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Odor and flavor of oils in Mints as insect repellants
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I am trying to find information on "How does mint plants repel insects" It's for my grand daughter's science project. Any help will be appreciated. Thank you

ANSWER:

Most of the species of the Family Lamiaceae (Mint Family), when crushed, produce a strong minty odor, usually pleasant to human noses. The odor comes from volatile oils produced by the plants. Here are names for some of these compounds occurring in various species of the mint family: menthol, carvone, linalool, eucalyptol, borneol, estragol, camphor, and many more. Extracts of these compounds from various members of the mint family have been used by humans in cosmetics, to flavor food, for medicinal purposes, to stimulate their pets (catnip, Nepeta cataria) and as insecticides and fungicides. Many plants of the mint family are resistant to browsing by deer and other animal grazers because of the strong odor and flavor produced by the oils. These volatile oils from mint plants repel many insects, function to keep the insects from feeding, and in many cases, when extracted and used as a spray, can result in the death of insects in one or more of the their life stages: adults, larvae, or eggs.

 

More Edible Plants Questions

Problems with blueberries from Kernersville NC
April 29, 2012 - My blueberry plants have no leaves or scrawny ones. I have 13 plants, 5 of them are like this.
view the full question and answer

Culture of Polytaenia nuttallii, Prairie Parsley
January 21, 2011 - Polytaenia nuttallii is listed at the Wildflower Center as a biennial. PLANTS database lists it as a perennial. Please clear this up if you can. If I plant this at home with tomato plants will it...
view the full question and answer

Problems with chile pequin from Pflugerville TX
July 19, 2012 - Hello there! I have a question about my chile pequin (Capsicum annuum L.) plant. I purchased it last year from the Wildflower Center Fall Plant Sale. It stayed in a pot until three months ago when I p...
view the full question and answer

Recommendation for red raspberry species for Connecticut
May 31, 2009 - Hello, I was wondering if you could recommend any red raspberries that I can grow in Connecticut. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

How was salal (Gaultheria shallon) used by the troops in WWII?
May 20, 2010 - We live in Vancouver BC. My mother says that during WW2 all the kids in her school were sent out to pick salal. They picked sacks of salal which were then sent to the troops. We are trying to find ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center