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Hedeoma pulegioides - (L.)Pers.

Common Name American Pennyroyal, American false pennyroyal
Family Lamiaceae or Labiatae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards In large quantities this plant, especially in the form of the extracted essential oil, can be toxic if taken internally[222]. Skin contact with the pure essential oil can cause dermatitis[222]
Habitats Dry soils[43 in open woods and fields[169].
Range N. America - S. Quebec to Minnesota and S. Dakota, then south to Tennessee and Arkansas.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Hedeoma pulegioides American Pennyroyal, American false pennyroyal


USDA Plant Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. Vol. 3: 136. Courtesy of Kentucky Native Plant Society
Hedeoma pulegioides American Pennyroyal, American false pennyroyal
William S. Justice @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Hedeoma pulegioides is a ANNUAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower from July to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves
Edible Uses: Condiment

The leaves have a very strong mint-like aroma and taste[171], they can be brewed into a refreshing tea that promotes good digestion, or they can be used as a culinary flavouring[183, 238]. An essential oil from the plant is used by the food industry as a flavouring in beverages, ice cream, baked goods etc[183].

Medicinal Uses

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Abortifacient  Birthing aid  Carminative  Diaphoretic  Rubefacient  Stimulant

American pennyroyal has a long history of medicinal use by various native North American Indian tribes and has become a traditional household remedy in North America[238]. It is used mainly in the treatment of digestive disorders, colds, whooping cough, painful menstruation and as an aid in childbirth[238]. A tea made from the leaves or flowering stems is carminative, rubefacient, stimulant[46, 61, 171]. It is used to treat colds because it promotes perspiration[207]. A tea with brewers yeast can induce an abortion[213]. The plants are harvested when flowering and can be used fresh or dried[213, 238]. The essential oil is distilled from the plants when they are in flower and used medicinally in the same ways as the leaves. Caution is advised since the pure essential oil is very toxic and ingestion can be lethal whilst skin contact can cause dermatitis[222, 238].

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Other Uses

Essential  Repellent

The essential oil is used as an ingredient in commercial insect repellents and cleaning products[238]. The plant is used as an insect repellent[169, 171]. When rubbed on the body it is said to repel ticks[207].

Special Uses

Scented Plants

Cultivation details

Prefers a sunny position in a well-drained acidic soil of low to moderate fertility[169]. Another report says that it prefers a rich sandy soil in sun or partial shade[238]. The plants neat habit and aromatic foliage make it a good candidate for growing in containers or planting near seats[238].

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Propagation

Seed - sow in situ in spring or autumn[169].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

 

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Expert comment

Author

(L.)Pers.

Botanical References

43

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

M. P. Hairston   Thu Feb 7 2008

I understand pennyroyal to be useful for repelling ticks. I'd like to know where to obtain some seed. All I've managed to find is the seed for the English or menthe variety. MPH

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