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Bruso, George H.
Mentha arvensis L.
Synonyms: Mentha canadensis, Mentha arvensis ssp. borealis
USDA Symbol: MEAR4
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Dense whorls of tiny, white, pale pink, or lavender, bell-shaped flowers nearly hidden by the opposite leaves in hairy leaf axils on the square stems of a branched, minty-smelling plant.
One of the few native mints, this aromatic perennial has glands containing essential oils, and the leaves are used as flavorings in sauces, jellies, and beverages. The genus name Mentha comes from Mintho, mistress of Pluto, ruler of Hades. His jealous queen, Proserpine, upon learning of Mintho, trampled her, transforming her into a lowly plant forever to be walked upon. Pluto made this horrible fate more tolerable by willing that the more the plant was trampled, the sweeter it would smell. The 4-lobed and nearly symmetrical clusters of flowers along the stem distinguish this so-called true mint from many others that have flowers in slender spikes at the stem tips or in upper axils.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Purple
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep
AK , AR , AZ , CA , CO , CT , DC , DE , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MT , NC , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OR , PA , RI , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY Canada: MB
, QC Native Distribution:
Throughout North America, except from Florida west to Louisiana and Oklahoma, and Arctic. Native Habitat:
Moist places, especially along streams. USDA Native Status: L48(N), AK(N), CAN(N),
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
This aromatic perennial
has glands containing essential oils, and the leaves are used as flavourings in sauces, jellies, and beverages. (Niering) Warning:
of this plant is toxic and may be fatal if ingested in large quantities. It is especially dangerous to children, who may mistake the fruit
for grapes. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a personís age, weight, physical condition, and individual Conspicuous Flowers:
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Native Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
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Record Modified: 2012-12-09
Research By: TWC Staff