1. Family: Lamiaceae Martinov
    1. Mentha L.

      1. This genus is accepted, and its native range is Cosmopolitan.


    Lamiaceae (Labiatae), A.J. Paton, G. Bramley, O. Ryding, R.M. Polhill, Y.B. Harvey, M. Iwarsson, F. Willis, P.B. Phillipson, K. Balkwill, C.W. Lukhoba, D.F. Otieno, & R.M. Harley. Mentha, RM Harley. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2009

    Perennial, rarely annual herbs, subshrubs or shrubs, usually gynodioecious, strongly aromatic with sessile glands
    Stems often rhizomatous, quadrangular
    Leaves opposite, entire or toothed, petiolate or sessile
    Inflorescence of few–many-flowered axillary cymes, pedunculate or not, when many-flowered often either forming dense verticils along stem, in axils of leaf-like bracts, or congested into terminal spiciform thyrses in axils of reduced bracts; bracteoles inconspicuous
    Flowers pedicellate
    Calyx either subactinomorphic, (4–)5-lobed, lobes subequal, triangular to subulate or acicular, or slightly 2-lipped, with the posterior lip 3-lobed and the anterior lip 2lobed, with anterior lobes often longer, tube cylindrical or infundibuliform, 10–15veined, throat hairy or glabrous
    Corolla lilac, pink or white, subactinomorphic, 4-lobed, lobes spreading, subequal, or posterior lip often slightly broader, weakly 2-lobed or emarginate, rarely entire; corolla tube ± cylindrical or rarely gibbous on anterior side, usually included within calyx tube
    Stamens 4, subequal, exserted, divergent (included in male-sterile plants); anthers ellipsoidal, thecae parallel, distinct
    Disk ± regular
    Ovary deeply 4-lobed; style gynobasic with stigma lobes subequal, shortly spreading
    Nutlets pale to dark brown, ovoid, smooth to rugose, not mucilaginous.
    Several mints are widely cultivated throughout the world for culinary or medicinal purposes. Most frequently, in the Flora area (Jex-Blake, Gard. E. Afr., ed. 4: 267 (1957); Williams, U.O.P.Z.: 350 (1949)) one can expect to find the Garden Mint, Mentha spicata L. ( M. viridis L.) and some of its hybrids. These are most easily recognised by the characteristic spearmint scent and glabrous or subglabrous lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate foliage. Mentha spicata has a slender spiciform inflorescence, as does its sterile hybrid with M. suaveolens Erhardt, Mentha villosa Huds. In the wild, in Europe, hairy forms occasionally arise from seed, but these are very unlikely to occur in the Flora area. M. spicata and M. villosa can be difficult to separate by morphological characters, although the latter often has broader and more rugose leaves. Another hybrid, M. piperita L., the Peppermint, ( M. aquatica spicata), is also recorded as a cultivated plant. This too has a very distinctive, strong scent, and its oil, which contains a very high proportion of the terpenoid menthol, is used for flavouring confectionary and toothpaste. It has a broader spike of flowers intermediate in shape between that of its parents, and the leaves are distinctly petiolate. In many parts of the tropics this has been replaced by the Japanese mint, M. canadensis L. cv. piperascens. This grows more vigorously under tropical conditions and is widely used commercially. A somewhat hairy mint, it is easily recognised by its verticillate inflorescence, the verticils of flowers arising from the axils of leaf-like bracts. The only other mint likely to be encountered in cultivation is the Pennyroyal, M. pulegium L. This is a plant of lower stature, with smaller, ± elliptic leaves, entire or slightly toothed, with a pungent scent. The calyx is weakly 2-lipped and is distinctly hairy in the throat. In habit, it is often procumbent with shortly erect flowering stems, though entirely erect forms are also known. There is evidence that some mints, from the north temperate zone, are shy of flowering, due to differences in day length.



    Native to:

    Afghanistan, Alaska, Albania, Alberta, Algeria, Altay, Amur, Angola, Arizona, Arkansas, Austria, Azores, Baleares, Baltic States, Belarus, Belgium, Botswana, British Columbia, Bulgaria, Buryatiya, California, Cambodia, Canary Is., Cape Provinces, Cape Verde, Central European Rus, Chad, Chatham Is., China North-Central, China South-Central, China Southeast, Chita, Colorado, Connecticut, Corse, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Delaware, Denmark, East Aegean Is., East European Russia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Florida, France, Free State, Føroyar, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Inner Mongolia, Iowa, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Irkutsk, Italy, Japan, Jawa, Kansas, Kazakhstan, Kentucky, Kenya, Khabarovsk, Kirgizstan, Korea, Krasnoyarsk, Kriti, Krym, KwaZulu-Natal, Laos, Lebanon-Syria, Lesotho, Lesser Sunda Is., Libya, Madeira, Maine, Malawi, Malaya, Maluku, Manchuria, Manitoba, Maryland, Masachusettes, Mexico Central, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mongolia, Montana, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nebraska, Nepal, Netherlands, Nevada, New Brunswick, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New South Wales, New York, New Zealand North, New Zealand South, North Carolina, North Caucasus, North Dakota, North European Russi, Northern Provinces, Northern Territory, Northwest European R, Northwest Territorie, Norway, Nova Scotia, Ohio, Oklahoma, Ontario, Oregon, Pakistan, Palestine, Pennsylvania, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Primorye, Qinghai, Queensland, Québec, Rhode I., Romania, Rwanda, Sardegna, Saskatchewan, Saudi Arabia, Sicilia, Sinai, South Australia, South Dakota, South European Russi, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Svalbard, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tadzhikistan, Tanzania, Tasmania, Tennessee, Texas, Thailand, Tibet, Transcaucasus, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkey-in-Europe, Turkmenistan, Tuva, Uganda, Ukraine, Utah, Uzbekistan, Vermont, Victoria, Vietnam, Virginia, Washington, West Himalaya, West Siberia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Xinjiang, Yakutskiya, Yugoslavia, Yukon, Zambia, Zimbabwe

    Introduced into:

    Alabama, Amsterdam-St.Paul Is, Argentina Northeast, Argentina Northwest, Argentina South, Bangladesh, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil South, Chile Central, Chile North, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, District of Columbia, Dominican Republic, Falkland Is., Fiji, Galápagos, Gambia, Gilbert Is., Gulf of Guinea Is., Haiti, Hawaii, Juan Fernández Is., Labrador, Louisiana, Magadan, Mauritania, Mexico Southwest, Mississippi, Newfoundland, Niger, Norfolk Is., North Carolina, Prince Edward I., Puerto Rico, Society Is., South Carolina, St.Helena, Trinidad-Tobago, Tristan da Cunha, Uruguay, Venezuela

    Mentha L. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Sands, M.J.S. [87], Indonesia K000932249
    Wight, R. [Cat. no. s.n.], India K001132517
    Cope, T.A. [RBG 200], United Kingdom K000914353

    First published in Sp. Pl.: 576 (1753)

    Accepted by

    • Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Selected Plant Families Database in ACCESS: 1-216203. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    • Kubitzki, Fam. Gen. Vasc. Pl. 7: 237–238 (2004)
    • Fl. Europaea 3: 183–186 (1972)
    • E & P., Pf. IV. 3a: 320 (1896)
    • Bull. Trav. Bot. Soc. Genève 5: 20–122 (1889)
    • Gen. Pl. ed. 5: 250 (1754)
    • Sp. Pl.: 576 (1753)


    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
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    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0