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Mentha arvensis (Wild mint)
Glase, Terry

Mentha arvensis

Mentha arvensis L.

Wild Mint

Lamiaceae (Mint Family)

Synonym(s): Mentha arvensis ssp. borealis, Mentha arvensis ssp. haplocalyx, Mentha arvensis var. canadensis, Mentha arvensis var. glabrata, Mentha arvensis var. lanata, Mentha arvensis var. sativa, Mentha arvensis var. villosa, Mentha canadensis, Mentha gentilis, Mentha glabrior, Mentha penardii

USDA Symbol: mear4

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), SPM (N)

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.


From the Image Gallery

11 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: Up to about 32 inches tall.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Nutlets, 4.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: 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 , NB , NL , NS , PE , QC
Native Distribution: Throughout North America, except from Florida west to Louisiana and Oklahoma, and Arctic.
Native Habitat: Moist places, especially along streams.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium


Use Food: This aromatic perennial has glands containing essential oils, and the leaves are used as flavourings in sauces, jellies, and beverages. (Niering)
Warning: The fruit of this plant is toxic and may be fatal if ingested in large quantities. It is especially dangerous to children.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-04-06
Research By: TWC Staff

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