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Useful Temperate Plants

Mentha arvensis

L.

Lamiaceae

+ Synonyms

Calamintha arvensis (L.) Garsault

Mentha agrestis Hegetschw.

Mentha agrestis Sole

Mentha agrestris Sole

Mentha albae-carolinae Heinr.Braun

Mentha alberti Sennen

Mentha allionii Boreau

Mentha angustifolia Schreb.

Mentha anomala Hérib.

Mentha approximata (Wirtg.) Strail

Mentha arenaria Topitz

Mentha arguta Opiz

Mentha argutissima Borbás & Heinr.Braun

Mentha atrovirens Host

Mentha austriaca Jacq.

Mentha badensis C.C.Gmel.

Mentha badensis J.Fellm. ex Ledeb.

Mentha baguetiana Strail

Mentha barbata Opiz ex Déségl.

Mentha bracteolata Opiz ex Déségl.

Mentha campestris Schur

Mentha campicola Heinr.Braun

Mentha collina Topitz

Mentha cuneifolia (Lej.) Domin

Mentha deflexa Dumort.

Mentha densiflora Opiz

Mentha densifoliata Strail

Mentha diffusa Lej.

Mentha dissitiflora Sennen

Mentha divaricata Host

Mentha divergens Topitz

Mentha dubia Schleich. ex Suter

Mentha duffourii Sennen

Mentha duftschmidii (Topitz) Trautm.

Mentha duftschmidii Topitz

Mentha ehrhartiana Lej. & Courtois

Mentha exigua Lucé

Mentha flagellifera Schur

Mentha flexuosa Strail

Mentha florida Tausch ex Heinr.Braun

Mentha fochii Sennen

Mentha fontana Weihe ex Strail

Mentha fontqueri Sennen

Mentha fossicola Heinr.Braun

Mentha gallica (Topitz) Domin

Mentha gentiliformis Strail

Mentha gentilis Georgi

Mentha gracilescens Opiz ex Strail

Mentha graveolens Opiz

Mentha hillebrandtii Ortmann ex Malinv.

Mentha hostii Boreau

Mentha intermedia Nees ex Bluff & Fingerh.

Mentha joffrei Sennen

Mentha kitaibeliana Heinr.Braun ex Haring

Mentha lamiifolia Host

Mentha lanceolata Benth.

Mentha lapponica Wahlenb.

Mentha lata Opiz ex Déségl.

Mentha latifolia Host

Mentha latissima Schur

Mentha laxa Host

Mentha longibracteata Heinr.Braun

Mentha maculata Host

Mentha melissifolia Host

Mentha minor Opiz ex Déségl.

Mentha moenchii Pérard

Mentha mosana Lej. & Courtois

Mentha multiflora Host

Mentha mutabilis (Topitz) Domin

Mentha nemorosa Host

Mentha nemorum Boreau

Mentha nobilis Weihe ex Fingerh.

Mentha nummularia Schreb.

Mentha obtusata Opiz

Mentha obtusodentata (Topitz) Domin

Mentha ocymoides Host

Mentha odorata Opiz ex Déségl.

Mentha origanifolia Host

Mentha ovata Schur

Mentha palitzensis Topitz

Mentha paludosa Nees ex Bluff & Fingerh.

Mentha palustris Moench

Mentha parvifolia Opiz

Mentha parvula Topitz

Mentha pascuorum (Topitz) Trautm.

Mentha pastoris Sennen

Mentha piersiana Borbás

Mentha pilosa Spreng. ex Wallr.

Mentha pilosella Pérard

Mentha plagensis Topitz

Mentha plicata Opiz

Mentha polymorpha Host

Mentha praeclara Topitz

Mentha praecox Sole

Mentha praticola Opiz

Mentha procumbens Thuill.

Mentha prostrata Host

Mentha pulchella Host

Mentha pulegiformis Heinr.Braun

Mentha pumila Host

Mentha rigida Strail

Mentha rothii Nees ex Bluff & Fingerh.

Mentha rotundata Opiz

Mentha ruderalis Topitz

Mentha salebrosa Boreau

Mentha sativa Roxb.

Mentha schreberi Pérard

Mentha scrophulariifolia Lej. & Courtois

Mentha segetalis Opiz

Mentha silvicola Heinr.Braun

Mentha simplex Host

Mentha slichoviensis Opiz

Mentha sparsiflora Heinr.Braun

Mentha subcollina Topitz

Mentha subcordata Colla ex Lamotte

Mentha subfontanea Topitz

Mentha subinodora Schur

Mentha sylvatica Host

Mentha tenuicaulis Strail

Mentha tenuifolia Host

Mentha thayana Heinr.Braun

Mentha uliginosa Strail

Mentha vanhaesendonckii Strail

Mentha varians Host

Mentha verisimilis Strail

Mentha villosa Becker

Mentha viridula Host

Common Name: Corn Mint

No Image.

General Information

Mentha arvensis is an erect to ascending, herbaceous perennial plant growing from a spreading, rhizomatous rootstock. The plant can grow from 10 - 60cm tall, occasionally to 100cm, forming a loose cluster of branched stems[
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.
,
74
Title
Flora of the USSR.
Publication
 
Author
Komarov. V. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Israel Program for Scientific Translation
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.

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 most of temperate Eurasia, including the Himalayas but excluding Mongolia, China, Japan and Korea

Habitat

Arable land, heaths, damp edges of woods[
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.
,
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.
]. Fields, meadows, shores of ponds, rivers, lakes, canals and irrigation ditches, swampy places, boggy shady woods, mainly in the forest zone[
74
Title
Flora of the USSR.
Publication
 
Author
Komarov. V. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Israel Program for Scientific Translation
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitPerennial
Height0.45 m
PollinatorsBees, Lepidoptera, Insects
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Mentha arvensis is a very cold-hardy plant, able to tolerate temperatures down to around -30°c when fully dormant[
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.
].
An easily grown plant, it 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.
]. This species tolerates much drier conditions than other members of the genus[
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.
]. Prefers a slightly acid soil[
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.
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for production of essential oils, but it also succeeds in partial shade.
Plants are hardy to at least -15°c[
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.
].
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.
].
Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus.
A polymorphic species, as is evident from the long list of synonyms attributed to it[
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.
].
The whole plant has a strong smell of mint, described as 'strong and almost oppressive' in some reports[
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.
] and as being 'not pungent' in others[
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.
].
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 reasonably strong minty flavour with a slight bitterness, they are 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.
,
172
Title
Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest.
Publication
 
Author
Schofield. J. J.
Publisher
Alaska Northwest Books; Alaska
Year
2003
ISBN
0882403699
Description
A nice guide to some useful plants in that area.
,
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.
].

A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried 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.
].

An essential oil from the plant is used as a flavouring in sweets and beverages[
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.
]. The leaves contain about 0.2% essential oil[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
].

Medicinal

Corn mint, like many other members of this genus, is often used as a domestic herbal remedy, being valued especially for its antiseptic properties and its beneficial effect on the digestion. Like other members of the genus, it is best not used by pregnant women because large doses can cause an abortion.

The whole plant is anaesthetic, antiphlogistic, antispasmodic, antiseptic, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, galactofuge, refrigerant, stimulant and stomachic[
147
Title
A Barefoot Doctors Manual.
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Running Press; Philadelphica.
Year
1977
ISBN
0-914294-92-X
Description
A very readable herbal from China, combining some modern methods with traditional chinese methods.
,
172
Title
Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest.
Publication
 
Author
Schofield. J. J.
Publisher
Alaska Northwest Books; Alaska
Year
2003
ISBN
0882403699
Description
A nice guide to some useful plants in that area.
,
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
]. 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.
]. The leaves are a classical remedy for stomach cancer[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
]. Another report says that this species is not very valuable medicinally[
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.
].
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 is used as an insect repellent[
18
Title
Companion Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B.
Publisher
Watkins
Year
1979
ISBN
-
Description
Details of beneficial and antagonistic relationships between neighbouring plants.
,
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.
,
99
Title
Plants in British Columbian Indian Technology.
Publication
 
Author
Turner. N. J.
Publisher
British Columbia Provincial Museum
Year
1979
ISBN
0-7718-8117-7
Description
Excellent and readable guide.
]. 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
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 leaves also repel various insects[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
].

An essential oil is obtained from the plant[
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 yield from the leaves is about 0.8%[
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 sub-species M. arvensis piperascens produces the best oil, which can be used as a substitute for, or adulterant of, peppermint oil[
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.
]. Yields of up to 1.6% have been obtained from some forms[
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.
].

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. 2022-09-29. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Mentha+arvensis>

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