MINT , botanically Mentha, a genus of labiate
See also:plants, comprising about twenty
See also:species of perennial herbs, widely distributed throughout the temperate and sub-tropical portions of the globe, but chiefly in the temperate regions of the Old
See also:World . The species have square stems, opposite, aromatic leaves, and a stoloniferous creeping rootstock . The
See also:flowers are arranged in axillary clusters (cymes), which either
See also:separate whorls or are crowded together into a terminal spike . The corolla is usually small and of a
See also:purple or pinkish
See also:colour; it has four557 nearly equal lobes, and encloses two long and two
See also:short stamens . Nearly three
See also:hundred intermediate forms have been named and described . Many of these varieties are permanent, in
See also:con-sequence of being propagated by stolons . In Britain ten species are indigenous or naturalized . Mentha viridis, or spearmint, grows in marshy meadows, and is the species commonly used for culinary purposes; it is distinguished by its smooth, sessile leaves and lax tapering flower-spikes . It is probably a cultivated
See also:race of the next species, Mentha sylvestris, or horsemint, which chiefly differs from the above in its coarser
See also:habit and hairy leaves, which are silky beneath, and in its denser flower-spikes . This plant is supposed to be the mint of Scripture, as it is extensively cultivated in the East; it was one of the bitter herbs with which the
See also:paschal lamb was eaten . M. rotundifolia resembles the last in
See also:size and habit, but is distinguished by its rounded wrinkled leaves, which are shaggy beneath, and by its lanceolate bracts . The last two species usually grow on
See also:damp waste ground .
M. aquatica grows in ditches, and is easily recognized by its rounded flower-spikes and stalked hairy leaves . M. piperita, or
See also:peppermint (q.v.), has stalked smooth leaves and an oblong obtuse terminal spike of flowers; it is cultivated for its volatile oil . M. pratensis belongs to a
See also:group which have the flowers arranged in axillary whorls and never in terminal spikes; it otherwise bears some resemblance to M. viridis . M. sativa grows by damp roadsides, and M. arvensis in cornfields; they are distinguished from M. pratensis by their hairy stalked leaves, which in M. arvensis are all equally large, but in M. sativa are much smaller towards the
See also:apex of the
See also:stem . M . Pulegium, commonly known as
See also:pennyroyal, more rarely as fleamint, has small
See also:oval obtuse leaves and flowers in axillary whorls, and is remarkable for its creeping habit and
See also:peculiar odour . It differs from all the mints above described in the
See also:throat of the calyx being closed with hairs . It is met with in damp places on grassy
See also:commons, and was formerly popular for medicinal purposes . All the genus Mentha abound in a volatile oil, contained in resinous dots in the leaves and stems . The odour of the oil is similar in several species, but is not distinctive, the same odour occurring in varieties of distinct species . Thus the peppermint flavour is found in M. piperita, in M. incana, and in
See also:Chinese and
See also:Japanese varieties of M. arvensis . Other forms of the last-named species growing in
See also:Ceylon and
See also:Java have the flavour of the
See also:garden mint, M. viridis, and the odour is found in M. sylvestris, M. rotundifolia and M. canadensis .
See also:scent is met with in a variety of M. aquatica and in forms of other species . Most mints blossom in
See also:August . The name mint is also applied to plants of other genera, Monarda punctata being called horsemint, Pycnanthemum linifolium
See also:mountain mint, and Nepeta cataria catmint .
MINT (Lat. moneta; Mid. Eng. mynt)
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