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

Sunday - May 19, 2013

From: Earlysville, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of small mint-like plant in Virginia
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am looking for a mint plant my mother use to have but we didn't plant. It grew in Earlysville, Virginia in red clay soil. The cat loved it but it was neither catnip nor catmint. It was under six inches and grew tightly packed. It had upright stalks with small pointed leaves all the way up it slightly graduated with very little space between leaf segments. It had a bluish color to it and it never bloomed, but if you brushed it slightly with your leg it was very aromatically minty. I cant find anything that looks like it, I hope you can help me find it or at least narrow it down. Thank you.

ANSWER:

According to the USDA Plants Database there are more than 65 species of plants (both native and introduced) in the Family Lamiaceae (Mint Family) that occur in Albemarle County, Virginia.  Of those 65+ plants I found 4 that were somewhat similar to your description.  Only the first one (American false pennyroyal) is a North American native. The other three are introduced species native to Europe, Asia and Africa.

Hedeoma pulegioides (American false pennyroyal) is a North American native.  Here are photos and more information from Illinois Wildflowers that reports it has a strong fragrance.

Glechoma hederacea (Ground ivy or Creeping Charlie) is native to Europe and southwestern Asia and is considered invasive in the Mid-Atlantic and New EnglandAlmostEdenPlants.com (and others) report it as being fragrant.

Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit) is a native of Europe, western Asia and northern Africa.  Here are more photos from CalPhotos from the University of California-Berkeley.  University of Minnesota Extension reports it as having a minty fragrance.

Lamium purpureum (Purple deadnettle) is also a native of Europe and Asia.  Here are more photos and information from Illinois Wildflowers.  Reported (by NatureGate) to have an unpleasant fragranceLearn2Grow says it has fragrant flowers and foliage.

I hope you recognize one of these as your little mint plant.  If not, you might try contacting the Virginia Native Plant Society (VNPS).  The Jefferson Chapter of VNPS is the one that includes Albemarle County.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

What is a Demaree Rose?
August 14, 2013 - Have been told the Apache Plume is the Wild Rose after which the Wild Rose Pass north of Ft. Davis was named. However, other research indicates it was the Demaree Rose. What is true and are there ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of Cercis canadensis or Cornus florida
July 03, 2007 - I have what I think is a dogwood tree of some sort but I'm not sure. I wondered if I sent you a picture you could identify it. So far no one has. It's different because of its branches. They are red...
view the full question and answer

Identification of shrub with pink catalpa-like flowers
July 31, 2013 - Ironically, this plant is growing on a hill behind a nursery. We are all curious what it could be..I've done internet searches for 2 days. My best guess is that it's in the catalpa family, but it's...
view the full question and answer

Identification of tall dry, stalk plant in Central Texas
January 19, 2011 - I'm trying to identify a plant from my childhood in Central Texas, as I'd like to evaluate its potential as a biofuel crop. It is a stalk-plant, growing quite tall, 7-8' on average, with knobbed...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of Texas bullnettle (Cnidoscolus texanus)
September 15, 2009 - I'm trying to identify a small thorny plant that I found growing on our (previously undeveloped) dry lot in Hutto, Central Texas. It has small white flowers and green thorny bulbs. The leaves and st...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center