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Mentha spicata - L.

Common Name Spearmint
Family Lamiaceae or Labiatae
USDA hardiness 3-7
Known Hazards Although no records of toxicity have been seen for this species, large quantities of some members of this genus, especially when taken in the form of the extracted essential oil, can cause abortions so some caution is advised.
Habitats Roadsides and waste places, usually in damp soils and sunny positions[4, 16, 17, 37].
Range C. Europe. Naturalized in Britain.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Mentha spicata Spearmint


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Mentha spicata Spearmint
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Mentha spicata is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

M. viridis.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Tea.

Leaves - raw or cooked. A strong spearmint flavour, they are used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods[2, 4, 5, 183]. The leaves are often used in 'mint sauce', which is used as a flavouring in meals[238]. A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves[21, 183]. It has a very pleasant and refreshing taste of spearmint, leaving the mouth and digestive system feeling clean[K]. An essential oil from the leaves and flowers is used as a flavouring in sweets, ice cream, drinks etc[46, 57, 183]. A spearmint flavour[183].

Composition
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Fresh weight)
  • 0 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 83%
  • Protein: 4.8g; Fat: 0.6g; Carbohydrate: 8g; Fibre: 2g; Ash: 1.6g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 200mg; Phosphorus: 80mg; Iron: 15.6mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 2700mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0.4mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes:

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiemetic;  Antiseptic;  Antispasmodic;  Cancer;  Carminative;  Diuretic;  Poultice;  Restorative;  
Stimulant;  Stomachic.

Spearmint is a commonly used domestic herbal remedy. A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders and various minor ailments[222]. The herb is antiemetic, antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic, restorative, stimulant and stomachic[4, 21, 46, 218]. The leaves should be harvested when the plant is just coming into flower, and can be dried for later use[4]. The stems are macerated and used as a poultice on bruises[218]. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses[222]. Both the essential oil and the stems are used in folk remedies for cancer[218]. A poultice prepared from the leaves is said to remedy tumours[218].

Other Uses

Essential;  Repellent;  Strewing.

An essential oil is obtained from the whole plant, the yield is about 4K of oil from 1 tonne of leaves[46, 57]. The oil is used commercially as a food flavouring and oral hygiene preparation[238]. The plant repels insects and was formerly used as an strewing herb[14, 18, 20]. Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint. The plant was therefore used in homes as a strewing herb and has also been spread in granaries to keep the rodents off the grain[244].

Cultivation details

A very easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry[200]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for production of essential oils, but it also succeeds in partial shade[4]. Prefers partial shade and a slightly acid soil[4, 16]. Often grown as a culinary herb in the herb garden, spearmint is also commercially cultivated for its essential oil, the yields are about 3.5 to 4.5 kilos per tonne of leaves. There are some named varieties[200, 238]. Most mints have fairly aggressive spreading roots and, unless you have the space to let them roam, they need to be restrained by some means such as planting them in containers that are buried in the soil[K]. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. The whole plant has a strong spearmint smell. The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies[24]. A good companion plant for growing near cabbages and tomatoes, helping to keep them free of insect pests[14, 20]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].

Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Mentha species are very prone to hybridisation and so the seed cannot be relied on to breed true. Even without hybridisation, seedlings will not be uniform and so the content of medicinal oils etc will vary. When growing plants with a particular aroma it is best to propagate them by division[K]. Division can be easily carried out at almost any time of the year, though it is probably best done in the spring or autumn to allow the plant to establish more quickly. Virtually any part of the root is capable of growing into a new plant. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. However, for maximum increase it is possible to divide the roots up into sections no more than 3cm long and pot these up in light shade in a cold frame. They will quickly become established and can be planted out in the summer.

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 NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Mentha aquaticaWater Mint33
Mentha arvensisCorn Mint, Wild mint32
Mentha arvensis piperascensJapanese Mint32
Mentha arvensis villosaAmerican Wild Mint32
Mentha asiaticaAsian Mint32
Mentha australis 02
Mentha cervinaHart's Pennyroyal32
Mentha cunninghamia 02
Mentha diemenica 22
Mentha longifoliaHorsemint22
Mentha pulegiumPennyroyal33
Mentha requieniiCorsican Mint, Mint32
Mentha satureioidesNative Pennyroyal22
Mentha species 22
Mentha suaveolensRound-Leaved Mint, Apple mint, Pineapple Mint22
Mentha x gracilisGinger Mint32
Mentha x piperita citrataEau De Cologne Mint, Eau de Cologne Mint, Peppermint22
Mentha x piperita officinalisWhite Peppermint35
Mentha x piperita vulgarisBlack Peppermint45
Mentha x smithianaRed Raripila Mint32
Mentha x villosa alopecuroidesApple Mint42

 

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Botanical References

17200

Links / References

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Readers comment

   Mon May 5 2008

I think somebody may have plagarized your website: http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Mentha+spicata

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