Mentha multifida Stokes
Mentha punctata Moench
Preslia cervina (L.) Fresen.
Preslia glabriflora Opiz
Preslia villiflora Opiz
Pulegium cervinum L.) Mill.
Common Name: Hart's Pennyroyal
Mentha cervina is a herbaceous perennial plant growing from a spreading, rhizomatous rootstock. It produces a cluster of stems that are procumbent and rooting below, erect above and from 10 - 40cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
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.
Western Mediterranean - Portugal, Spain, France, Azores, Morocco, Algeria
|Pollinators||Bees, Lepidoptera, Insects
Mentha cervina is a moderately cold-hardy plant, being able to tolerate short periods with temperatures down to around -15°c when fully dormant[
Succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry[
]. Prefers a slightly acid soil[
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for production of essential oils, but it succeeds in partial shade.
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[
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[
Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus.
The leaves have a strong scent of pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
The leaves have a strong spearmint fragrance and can be used to make a herb tea[
A tea made from the leaves of most mint species has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders and various minor ailments[
]. The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and can be dried for later use[
The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses[
Mint species are usually good bee and butterfly attractant plants, supplying them with good quality pollen and nectar[
Mints are usually quite aromatic plants and they make good companions for cabbages and tomatoes, their aromatic nature helping to repel insect pests..
An essential oil is obtained from the whole plant.
Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint. Members of the genus have therefore often been used in homes as strewing herbs and have also been spread in granaries to keep rodents off the stored grain[
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[
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.