Mentha arvensis L.
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
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
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Size Notes: Up to about 32 inches tall.
Fruit: Nutlets, 4.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
DistributionUSA: 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 ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
BenefitUse 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 InsectsSpecial 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
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
BibliographyBibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Mentha arvensis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Mentha arvensis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Mentha arvensis
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-04-06
Research By: TWC Staff