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 Herbs/Forbs Questions

Is Asclepias purpurascens a Texas native?
April 23, 2013 - Is the Asclepias purpurascens a Texas native plant? If so where does it grow?
view the full question and answer

Deadheading Mexican hat to produce more blooms in Austin
July 05, 2010 - I have several Mexican hat (rudbeckia) plants growing wild in my yard. Would deadheading now give them a second flush of bloom in fall?
view the full question and answer

Pink wildflowers on DFW runways in April-June
October 10, 2013 - I fly thru DFW quite often and have noticed in April-June timeframe the runways are dotted with a light pink colored wildflower. Have asked the DFW Customer Service folks for the name, ones I've ask...
view the full question and answer

Planting iris rhizomes in Wisconsin
October 10, 2008 - I live in central WI and was given some iris bulbs (think they are called Rhizomes) and have no idea how to go about planting them. I am very new to planting so step by step instructions with good de...
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of invasive Florida betony from Myrtle Beach SC
April 28, 2012 - How can I get rid of Florida Betony from my lawn and flower beds/ garden area. Garden area was thoroughly dug up and hand picked of all tubules last year at least a foot deep. They are much worse now....
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