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Botanical Name: Mentha suaveolens
Species: M. suaveolens
Synonyms: M. rotundifolia, Mentha macrostachya, Mentha insularis
Common Names: Mentha suaveolens, Apple mint, Pineapple mint, Woolly mint or Round-leafed mint
Habitat :Mentha suaveolens is native to S. and W. Europe, north to the Netherlands and east into W. Asia. It grows on damp ground that often dries out in summer, from sea level to 400 metres in Turkey.
Mentha suaveolens is a perennial herb. It typically grows to a height of from 40 to 100 centimetres (16 to 39 in) tall and spreads by stolons to form clonal colonies. The foliage is light green, with the opposite, wrinkled, sessile leaves being oblong to nearly ovate, 3 to 5 cm (1.2 to 2.0 in) long and 2 to 4 cm (0.8 to 1.6 in) broad. They are somewhat hairy on top and downy underneath with serrated edges. The flowers develop in terminal spikes 4 to 9 cm (1.6 to 3.5 in) long and consisting of a number of whorls of white or pinkish flowers. Apple mint flowers in mid to late summer. The plant is aromatic with a fruity, minty flavour.
It is not frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
A very easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for production of essential oils, but plants also succeed in partial shade. Often cultivated as a pot herb. There are some named varieties. The flowers have a sickly sweet smell. A very invasive plant, spreading freely at the roots. Unless you have the space to let it roam, it needs to be restrained by some means such as planting it in a container that is buried in the soil. It is said to be a good companion for cabbages and tomatoes, its aromatic leaves repelling insect pests, though its aggressive root system also needs to be taken into account here. The whole plant has a mint-like aroma. The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Edible, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native, Invasive, Naturalizing, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers.
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Mentha species are very prone to hybridisation and so the seed cannot be relied on to breed true. Even without hybridisation, seedlings will not be uniform and so the content of medicinal oils etc will vary. When growing plants with a particular aroma it is best to propagate them by division. Division can be easily carried out at almost any time of the year, though it is probably best done in the spring or autumn to allow the plant to establish more quickly. Virtually any part of the root is capable of growing into a new plant. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. However, for maximum increase it is possible to divide the roots up into sections no more than 3cm long and pot these up in light shade in a cold frame. They will quickly become established and can be planted out in the summer.
Leaves – eaten raw or cooked as a potherb. Used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods. The leaves have a similar flavour to spearmint, and are considered to be superior in flavour to that species but are also hairy, which makes them less suitable for garnishing. A herb tea is made from the leaves. The leaves can be used to make apple mint jelly, as well as a flavoring in dishes such as apple mint couscous. It is also often used to make a mint tea, as a garnish, or in salads
Mentha suaveolens or apple mint is called hierbabuena in Spain and most South American countries, literally meaning “good herb”. Apple mint has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years in many parts of the world, including Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
It is often used as a domestic herbal remedy, being valued especially for its antiseptic properties and its beneficial effect on the digestion. Like other members of the genus, it is best not used by pregnant women because large doses can cause an abortion. A tea made from the leaves of most mint species has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders and various minor ailments. The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and can be dried for later use. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses.
Other Uses: An essential oil is obtained from the whole plant. Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint. The plant was therefore used in homes as a strewing herb and has also been spread in granaries to keep the rodents off the grain.
Landscape Uses:Border, Ground cover, Specimen.
Known Hazards: Although no records of toxicity have been seen for this species, large quantities of some members of this genus, especially when taken in the form of the extracted essential oil, can cause abortions so some caution is advised.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.