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Clinopodium coccineum (Scarlet calamint)
Cressler, Alan

Clinopodium coccineum

Clinopodium coccineum (Nutt. ex Hook.) Kuntze

Scarlet Calamint, Scarlet Wild Basil, Red Savory, Red Mint Shrub, Scarlet Balm, Southern Calamint, Red Basil

Lamiaceae (Mint Family)

Synonym(s): Calamintha coccinea, Clinopodium macrocalyx, Cunila coccinea, Satureja coccinea

USDA Symbol: CLCO10

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Scarlet Calamint is a small shrub with wiry stems and small, obovate to spatulate, opposite leaves. The flowers are strongly two-lipped and scarlet with darker red spots. The lower lip has three distinct lobes and there are 4 anthers per flower.

This species should be cultivated because it blooms thoughout the year and the flowers are especially colorful. Yellow-flowered variants occasionally occur. Foliage is mildly aromatic.


From the Image Gallery

10 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Subshrub , Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen , Semi-evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Oblanceolate , Obovate , Spatulate
Leaf Pubescence: Glandular
Leaf Margin: Entire
Leaf Base: Cuneate
Leaf Texture: Leathery
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Inflorescence: Axillary
Fruit Type: Nut
Size Notes: To 1 meter in height.
Flower: Flowers 25-50mm. Petals scarlet
Fruit: Brown, 1mm nutlets.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov , Dec
Bloom Notes: Flowers scarlet. May bloom year-round, but flowering peaks in summer.


USA: AL , FL , GA , MS
Native Distribution: Southern Georgia to Southern Mississippi and south to Central Florida.
Native Habitat: Sand hills and sandy flatwoods on the coastal plain.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Drought Tolerance: Medium
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy soils.


Use Ornamental: Showy flowers produced year-round.
Use Wildlife: Flowers very attractive to hummingbirds.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes
Attracts: Hummingbirds
Nectar Source: yes


Propagation Material: Clump Division , Seeds , Semi-hardwood Cuttings
Description: Stick cuttings in early summer.
Seed Collection: Spring or fall.
Maintenance: Takes pruning.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Web Reference

Webref 57 - Atlas of Florida Plants (2020) Institute for Systematic Botany
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Clinopodium coccineum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Clinopodium coccineum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Clinopodium coccineum


Record Modified: 2023-04-06
Research By: Joseph A. Marcus

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