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Useful Temperate Plants

Mentha aquatica

L.

Lamiaceae

+ Synonyms

Marrubium aquaticum (L.) Uspenski

Mentha acuta Opiz

Mentha acutata Opiz

Mentha adspersa Moench

Mentha affinis Boreau

Mentha aromatica Opiz ex Déségl.

Mentha augusta Opiz ex Déségl.

Mentha auneticensis Opiz

Mentha aurita Weihe ex Fresen.

Mentha avellinii Tod. ex Bertol.

Mentha avellinii Tod. ex Lojac.

Mentha brachiata Weihe ex Fresen.

Mentha bugulifolia Weihe ex Fresen.

Mentha calaminthifolia (Vis.) Heinr.Braun

Mentha cetica Heinr.Braun

Mentha chaixii Strail

Mentha cordata Jan ex Nyman

Mentha crenatodentata Strail

Mentha denticulata Strail

Mentha deseglisei Malinv.

Mentha dubia Chaix ex Vill.

Mentha dunensis Strail

Mentha duriuscula (Haw. ex Spach) Trautm.

Mentha elongata (Pérard) Heinr.Braun

Mentha eriantha K.Koch

Mentha glomerata Stokes

Mentha grandidentata Strail

Mentha hirsuta Huds.

Mentha hirta Caldas

Mentha hybrida Aresch.

Mentha hygrophila Topitz

Mentha hystrix Heinr.Braun

Mentha incisoserrata Strail

Mentha intermedia Host

Mentha intricata Debeaux

Mentha lateovata Strail

Mentha latifolia Nolte ex Hornem.

Mentha limicola Strail

Mentha limnetes (Topitz) Trautm.

Mentha limosa (Schur) Heinr.Braun

Mentha littoralis Strail

Mentha lloydii Boreau

Mentha lobeliana (Becker) Heinr.Braun

Mentha macrocephala Strail

Mentha microcephala Strail

Mentha nederheimensis Strail

Mentha nigrescens Weihe ex Fresen.

Mentha obliqua Raf.

Mentha obtuseserrata Opiz ex Malinv.

Mentha obtusifolia Opiz ex Déségl.

Mentha odorata Sole

Mentha origanoides Lej. ex Fingerh.

Mentha origanoides Ten.

Mentha ortmanniana Opiz

Mentha paludosa Sole

Mentha palustris Mill.

Mentha pireana Strail

Mentha polyanthetica (Topitz) Trautm.

Mentha probabilis Schur

Mentha purpurea Host

Mentha pyrifolia A.Kern.

Mentha pyrifolia Heinr.Braun

Mentha ramosissima Strail

Mentha ranina Opiz

Mentha rauscheri Topitz

Mentha riparia Lej. ex Malinv.

Mentha riparia Schreb.

Mentha rudaeana Opiz

Mentha sativa Sm.

Mentha soleana Strail

Mentha stagnalis Topitz

Mentha stolonifera Opiz

Mentha subspicata Weihe ex Fresen.

Mentha subthermalis Trautm.

Mentha tinantiana Lej. ex Malinv.

Mentha trojana Heinr.Braun

Mentha umbrosa Opiz

Mentha urticifolia Ten.

Mentha viennensis Opiz

Mentha weiheana Opiz

Mentha weissenburgensis F.W.Schultz ex Nyman

Common Name: Water Mint

No Image.

General Information

Mentha aquatica is an erect, herbaceous perennial plant growing from a spreading, rhizomatous rootstock. It forms a loose cluster of branched stems that can grow from 50 - 150cm tall[
610
Title
Flora of Tropical East Africa
Publication
 
Author
Beentje H.J.
Website
http://plants.jstor.org/search?st=396814
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
Available on-line, a modern flora of East Africa.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials. Water mint has been cultivated for probably more than 2,000 years for use as an aromatic and medicinal plant and is stillgrown in a small scale, especially a glabrous form that is grown in northern Italy as a source of the essential oil linalool[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

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.

Botanical References

17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Throughout Europe, except northern Russia, to the Caucasus and Iran; West Siberia, Mediterranean Africa, east and south Africa

Habitat

Swamps, fen, marshes, near rivers, streams and ponds, in wet woods[
9
Title
Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Launert. E.
Publisher
Hamlyn
Year
1981
ISBN
0-600-37216-2
Description
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitPerennial
Height1.00 m
PollinatorsBees, Lepidoptera, Insects
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Mentha aquatica is a moderately cold-hardy plant, able to tolerate temperatures down to around -20°c when fully dormant[200
Succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
16
Title
New Vegetable Growers Handbook.
Publication
 
Author
Simons.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1977
ISBN
0-14-046-050-0
Description
A good guide to growing vegetables in temperate areas, not entirely organic.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for production of essential oils, but it also succeeds in partial shade. Plants can grow in water up to 15cm deep[
24
Title
Making a Wildlife Garden.
Publication
 
Author
Baines. C.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Fairly good with lots of ideas about creating wildlife areas in the garden.
].
Mentha species are very prone to hybridisation and so the seed cannot be relied on to breed true. Even without hybridisation, seedlings will often 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
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
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
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
The leaf shape of this species is very variable - one of the reasons for the very long list of synonyms given above!. All specimens found in east Africa have hermaphrodite flowers with exserted anthers. Individuals with functionally female flowers, with included stamens, occur widely elsewhere[
610
Title
Flora of Tropical East Africa
Publication
 
Author
Beentje H.J.
Website
http://plants.jstor.org/search?st=396814
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
Available on-line, a modern flora of East Africa.
].
Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus.
The whole plant, especially when bruised, has a pungent aroma of bergamot[
245
Title
Scented Flora of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Genders. R.
Publisher
Robert Hale. London.
Year
1994
ISBN
0-7090-5440-8
Description
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
].
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
233
Title
Perennial Garden Plants
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
J. M. Dent & Sons, London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0 460 86048 8
Description
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
].

Edible Uses

Leaves - raw or cooked. A strong distinctive peppermint-like fragrance[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. Used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods[
5
Title
Food for Free.
Publication
 
Author
Mabey. R.
Publisher
Collins
Year
1974
ISBN
0-00-219060-5
Description
Edible wild plants found in Britain. Fairly comprehensive, very few pictures and rather optimistic on the desirability of some of the plants.
]. The leaves are too pungent for most people to use as a flavouring[
244
Title
Herbs
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Foy. N.
Publisher
Pan Books Ltd. London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-330-30725-8
Description
Deals with all types of herbs including medicinal, culinary, scented and dye plants. Excellent photographs with quite good information on each plant.
].

A herb tea is made from the leaves[
21
Title
The Herb Book.
Publication
 
Author
Lust. J.
Publisher
Bantam books
Year
1983
ISBN
0-553-23827-2
Description
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
].

Medicinal

The leaves are anodyne, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emetic, refrigerant, stimulant, stomachic, tonic and vasodilator[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
9
Title
Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Launert. E.
Publisher
Hamlyn
Year
1981
ISBN
0-600-37216-2
Description
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
,
21
Title
The Herb Book.
Publication
 
Author
Lust. J.
Publisher
Bantam books
Year
1983
ISBN
0-553-23827-2
Description
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
]. A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders and various minor ailments[
222
Title
A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Foster. S. & Duke. J. A.
Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Co.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-395-46722-5
Description
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
]. It is also used as a mouth-wash and a gargle for treating sore throats, ulcers, bad breath etc[
9
Title
Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Launert. E.
Publisher
Hamlyn
Year
1981
ISBN
0-600-37216-2
Description
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
].
The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and can be dried for later use[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].

The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses[
222
Title
A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Foster. S. & Duke. J. A.
Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Co.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-395-46722-5
Description
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Mint species are usually good bee and butterfly attractant plants, supplying them with good quality pollen and nectar[
24
Title
Making a Wildlife Garden.
Publication
 
Author
Baines. C.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Fairly good with lots of ideas about creating wildlife areas in the garden.
]
Mints are usually quite aromatic plants and they make good companions for cabbages and tomatoes, their aromatic nature helping to repel insect pests..

Other Uses

The plant repels flies, mice and rats[
14
Title
Complete Guide to Herbs.
Publication
 
Author
Holtom. J. and Hylton. W.
Publisher
Rodale Press
Year
1979
ISBN
0-87857-262-7
Description
A good herbal.
,
20
Title
Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Publication
 
Author
Riotte. L.
Publisher
Garden Way, Vermont, USA.
Year
1978
ISBN
0-88266-064-0
Description
Fairly good.
,
244
Title
Herbs
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Foy. N.
Publisher
Pan Books Ltd. London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-330-30725-8
Description
Deals with all types of herbs including medicinal, culinary, scented and dye plants. Excellent photographs with quite good information on each plant.
]. It has a pleasant, fresh scent and was formerly used as a strewing herb and has been strewn in granaries to keep mice and rats off the grain[
14
Title
Complete Guide to Herbs.
Publication
 
Author
Holtom. J. and Hylton. W.
Publisher
Rodale Press
Year
1979
ISBN
0-87857-262-7
Description
A good herbal.
,
244
Title
Herbs
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Foy. N.
Publisher
Pan Books Ltd. London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-330-30725-8
Description
Deals with all types of herbs including medicinal, culinary, scented and dye plants. Excellent photographs with quite good information on each plant.
].

The plant, harvested before flowering, yields about 0.8% essential oil[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
]. The fresh or dried plant is very good when used in herbal baths and can also be used in herb pillows[
244
Title
Herbs
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Foy. N.
Publisher
Pan Books Ltd. London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-330-30725-8
Description
Deals with all types of herbs including medicinal, culinary, scented and dye plants. Excellent photographs with quite good information on each plant.
].

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
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
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.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2022-08-19. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Mentha+aquatica>

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