Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Mentha spicata L.
- Family: Mint (Labiatae)
- Flowering: June-October
- Field Marks: The flowers are crowded into slender, leafless spikes. The leaves are either
sessile or with a very short stalk.
- Habitat: Wet soil, along streams, around springs.
- Habit: Perennial herb from extensive rhizomes.
- Stems: Upright, often branched, square, up to 3 feet tall, sometimes hairy.
- Leaves: Opposite, simple, oblong to lanceolate, pointed at the tip, more or less rounded at the nearly sessile base, sharply toothed, usually smooth but sometimes hairy on the veins beneath, up to 3 inches long, with fragrance and taste of spearmint.
- Flowers: Many crowded into distinct whorls on slender, leafless spikes up to 4 inches long.
- Sepals: 5, green, united below into a short tube, the lobes all about the same size, 1/12-1/10 inch long, the tube smooth, the lobes hairy.
- Petals: Fused to form a 2-lipped tube, pale violet to purple.
- Stamens: 4, attached to the petals.
- Pistils: Ovary superior, 4-lobed.
- Fruits: Nutlets 4, ovoid.
- Notes: This species is used as an herb because of its strong spearmint odor and taste. It is an introduction from Europe. Gleason and Cronquist call this family Lamiaceae.
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