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Plants: Species

Mint Mentha


According to Greek myth, mints Mentha sp. are the pleasant result of a jealous rage. It seems that when Pluto fell in love with a beautiful nymph named Minthe, Persephone became so jealous that she turned her into a "lowly plant." But Pluto made sure that whenever Minthe was stepped on, her sweet scent became stronger than ever, and so we enjoy the aromatic herb that bears her name. However, she can hardly be called "lowly" anymore, as mints are a major commercial crop, used in everything from toothpaste to chewing gum to tea.

There are two main types of mint that most varieties come from: spearmint Mentha spicata, which gets its common name from the flowers that shoot up on spear-like stalks, and peppermint Mentha piperita, which is a sterile hybrid of water mint Mentha aquatica and spearmint that can only be grown from cuttings. Lemon mint Mentha piperita 'Citrata' is pictured here.