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Botanical Name: Mentha requienii
Species: M. requienii
Common Names: Corsican Mint, Mint
Habitat :Mentha requienii is native to Corsica, Sardinia, and mainland Italy, and naturalized in Portugal and in the British Isles. 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.
Mentha requienii is a perennial herb. It is a very low-growing species with bright green leaves and a strong minty aroma and is one of the smallest members of the mint family. It grows to 3–10 cm tall, with small oval leaves 2–7 mm long and tiny mauve flowers in July and August that are insect pollinated. It has a strong aroma of peppermint.
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry. This species of mint will grow in drier soils than the other mints. It also grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for production of essential oils, but it also succeeds in partial shade. Prefers a shady position. Fairly tolerant of being walked on, it grows well in the cracks of paving stones and also as a lawn with thyme and camomile. This species is not hardy in all areas of Britain. However, the plant usually self-sows even when the parent plant is killed by frost. The whole plant is strongly aromatic with a peppermint aroma. The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies. A good companion plant for growing near cabbages and tomatoes, helping to keep them free of insect pests. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.
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 – raw or cooked. A very strong peppermint-like aroma is used as a flavouring in salads, cooked foods and liqueurs. It is most famously as the flavoring in crème de menthe. It is sometimes said to have a scent similar to pennyroyal. A herb tea is made from the leaves.
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.
An essential oil with a strong peppermint scent 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.
Use in the garden:
Mentha requienii can be used in landscaping as a bedding plant, giving out a desirable mint smell when trodden on. Because it can indeed be walked upon without dying, it is sometimes used to line walkways, growing between stepping stones. Unlike most other cultivated mints, this plant stays diminutive and thrives in shady garden areas. However, if given too much moisture the leaves will rot. The best way to avoid this is to let the plant dry out between waterings, but not too much, because it is drought-sensitive. Baby’s tears is used as a substitute in areas where Corsican mint is too fragile.
Mentha requienii, along with pennyroyal, is thought to be one of the best mints to grow as a companion to brassica plants like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, et cetera. It repels certain pest insects, in part by obscuring the smell of the crop to be protected, and may also enhance flavor.
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.