Mint (Mentha)

September 17, 2017

THE MINT FAMILY:

Mentha, commonly known as mint, is a genus of plants in the Lamiaceae family. There are a number of different species of mint, along with many hybrids, due to the natural occurrence of cross-breeding between species. Mint plants are aromatic, mainly perennial herbs with highly fragrant, toothed, opposing leaves, and tiny white, pink, or purple flowers, arranged in clusters forming whorls or a spike. Many characteristics of the mint plant can vary with differing species, but will always be characterized by a square stem. The colour of the leaves can vary from a dark green to grey, purple, blue, and even pale yellow. These plants can often grow up to about 2 – 3 feet tall, and will commonly spread out along the ground. Mint plants produce a fruit called a nutlet which contains 1 to 4 seeds. Propagation is considered an easier form of reproduction for mint. The volatile oils which are extracted from the plant are found in resinous dots located in the leaves and stems. The name Mentha is derived from the Greek word minthe, personified in Greek mythology as Minthe, a naiad who was transformed into a mint plant by Persephone when she tried to seduce Hades. The mint plant originated in Europe, Asia, North America, Australia, and Africa, but has been widely distributed throughout the temperate areas of the world, a