Characteristics of Peppermint Plants (Mentha × piperita) in the Wild

Mentha × piperita
Mint or Peppermint is a hybrid mint plant, a cross between Watermint (Mentha aquatica) and Spearmint (Mentha spicata) native to Europe and the Middle East.

This plant has now been cultivated in many regions of the world. Sometimes it is also found spreading into the wild.

Although the Mentha genus consists of more than 25 species, the most commonly grown is Peppermint (Mentha × piperita). It is recognized as a plant source of menthol and menthone and is the oldest herb used as a culinary and medicinal ingredient.

The peppermint plant was first described in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus from specimens grown in England. It treats it as a species, but it is now universally agreed to be considered a hybrid.

Selected cultivars of peppermint for ornamental use are:

  • Mentha × piperita ‘Candymint’
  • Mentha × piperita ‘Chocolate Mint’
  • Mentha × piperita ‘Citrata’
  • Mentha × piperita ‘Crispa’
  • Mentha × piperita ‘Lavender Mint’
  • Mentha × piperita ‘Lime Mint’
  • Mentha × piperita ‘Variegata’

Additionally, commercial uses of the peppermint plant include:

  • Dulgo Pole
  • Zefir
  • Bulgarian population # 2
  • Clones 11-6-22
  • Clone 80-121-33
  • Mitcham Digne 38
  • Mitcham Ribecourt 19
  • Todd # x2019
  • Todd’s Mitcham

 

Characteristics of Leaf

Mentha × piperita Leaf
Source : flickr.com/sclereid0309

Peppermint leaves are 4-9 cm long and 1.5-4 cm wide, dark green with reddish veins, and rough-toothed margins.

 

Characteristics of Peppermint Flower

Mentha × piperita Flower
Source : flickr.com/pverdonk

The flowers are purple, 6-8 mm long, grow whorl (verticillaster) around the stem to form thick and blunt spikes. The flowering season for peppermint plants in mid to late summer.

 

Characteristics of Peppermint Plants

Mentha × piperita Plant
Source : flickr.com/pverdonk

Peppermint is an herbaceous rhizomatous perennial that can grow to 80-90 cm tall and smooth-stemmed with a square shape. Peppermint is also a fast-growing plant, once it grows, it can spread very quickly.

Peppermint plants usually grow wild in damp, shady areas, such as on the edges of streams or ditches. The hybrid usually does not produce seeds and reproduces only asexually.

Peppermint was once grown for its oil use and is considered invasive in Australia, the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, and the United States, dating back to 1843.

 
BENEFITS OF PEPPERMINT PLANTS

Peppermint plants can be extracted and produce oil. The oil is used in traditional medicine to treat minor ailments.

The extracted peppermint oil has a cooling effect when used topically for muscle pain, nerve pain, itching, or as a fragrance.

Fresh or dried peppermint leaves are often used to make peppermint tea or herbal teas.

Peppermint is known to be used to flavor ice cream, candy, fruit preservatives, alcoholic beverages, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, and skincare products.

The use of drugs produced from peppermint plant extracts has not been legally or safely approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, it is considered safe by the European Medicines Evaluation Agency, if used for adults.

 

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