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Mentha spicata L.

Figure 101.—Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
Synonym.Mentha viridis L.

Other common names.—Mint, brown mint, garden mint, lamb mint, mackerel mint, Our Lady's mint, sage of Bethlehem.

Habitat and range.—Like peppermint, the spearmint has also been naturalized from Europe and may be found in moist fields and waste places from Nova Scotia to Utah and south to Florida. It is also cultivated to some extent for the distillation of the oil, especially in Michigan and Indiana, and for domestic use it is a familiar garden plant.

Description.—Spearmint in its general characteristics resembles peppermint, but it is rather more vigorous in its growth, the lance-shaped leaves are generally stemless, and the flower spikes are narrow and pointed rather than thick and blunt.

Part used.—The dried leaves and flowering tops, collected before the flowers are fully developed. Spearmint is cultivated like peppermint for the production of oil, but on a less extensive scale.*

*This industry is described in the following publication: Seivers, A.F. Peppermint and Spearmint as Farm Crops. U.S. Dept. Agr. Farmers' Bul. 1555, 26 p., illus. 1929.

Sievers, A.F. 1930. The Herb Hunters Guide. Misc. Publ. No. 77. USDA, Washington DC.
Last update Friday, April 3, 1998 by aw