wild mint

(Mentha arvensis)

Conservation Status
wild mint
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACW - Facultative wetland


FACW - Facultative wetland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACW - Facultative wetland


Wild mint is a 4 to 32 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises from a rhizome and fibrous roots. It often forms colonies. The plant is highly aromatic and can often be detected by its minty odor before it is seen.

The stems are erect or ascending and square. They are covered above the middle, especially on the angles, with both spreading, barely curved hairs and appressed, downward-pointing hairs. They are hairless near the base and often hairless between the angles.

The leaves are opposite, broadly lance-shaped or egg-shaped, ¾ to 3 long, and ¼ to 1½ wide. They are on short leaf stalks. They are wedge shaped at the base and taper to a point at the tip. The upper surface is hairless or nearly hairless. The lower surface is sparsely covered with short, soft hairs. Both surfaces are covered with minute, sunken glands. The margins are toothed except near the base with sharp, forward pointing teeth. When crushed, the leaves have a strong mint aroma.

The inflorescence is a dense pair of branched, round-topped clusters of up to 20 or more flowers rising from the axils of opposite pairs of middle and upper leaves. The adjacent clusters form false whorls. The space between the nodes with flowers is about equal to the space between the nodes without flowers.

The flowers are to ¼ long. There are 5 green, hairy sepals (calyx) united for most of their length into a tube then divided into 5 short lobes. There are 5 white to light purple or pink petals, united for most of their length into a tube then divided into 2 lips. The upper lip is a single lobe with a notch at the top. The lower lip is divided into three, nearly equal lobes. The division of the corolla into two lips is not obvious, and the corolla has the appearance of having 4 regular lobes. There are four stamens of nearly equal length that protrude well beyond the corolla tube.

The fruit is a smooth, light brown nutlet less than 1 16 in diameter.




4 to 32


Flower Color


White to light purple or pink


Similar Species

  Spearmint (Mentha spicata) inflorescence is a spike-like cluster of flowers at the end of the stem.  

Wet to moist. Sedge meadows, calcareous fens, shores, streambanks, ditches. Full sun.




July to September


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Lamiales (mints, plantains, olives, and allies)  


Lamiaceae (mint)  
  Subfamily Nepetoideae  
  Tribe Mentheae  


Menthinae (balms, mints, and thymes)  
  Genus Mentha (mints)  
  Section Mentha  

In 1994, Flora of China observed that the North American plants classified as Mentha arvensis have a number of distinguishing features, including a higher number of chromosomes and a different leaf shape. It suggested that the native North American plants be segregated into a new species, Mentha canadensis.

The change is controversial. In recent years there has been growing support for the name change, but it has not been universally accepted. Some botanists argue that the North American plants are still sufficiently similar to Mentha arvensis to warrant the same name. They also point out that the name change could cause confusion, as Mentha canadensis is already the name of a different species of mint that is native to eastern Asia.




Mentha arvensis ssp. borealis

Mentha arvensis var. canadensis

Mentha arvensis var. glabrata

Mentha arvensis ssp. haplocalyx

Mentha arvensis var. lanata

Mentha arvensis var. sativa

Mentha arvensis var. villosa

Mentha canadensis

Mentha gentilis

Mentha glabrior

Mentha penardii


Common Names


common mint

field mint

wild mint













The upper angle where a branch, stem, leaf stalk, or vein diverges.



The group of outer floral leaves (sepals) below the petals, occasionally forming a tube.



A collective name for all of the petals of a flower.



The small swelling of the stem from which one or more leaves, branches, or buds originate.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

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Other Videos
  Field Mint (Mentha arvensis)
Wandering Sole TV

Published on Aug 15, 2013

Field Mint (Mentha arvensis), also known as Wild Mint, Corn Mint, or in the case of M. arvensis var. canadensis, Canada Mint. It grows and is native to the temperate regions of Europe, western and central Asia, east to the Himalaya and eastern Siberia, and North America. A member of the Mint (Lamiaceae) family, it can be used to make teas or jelly. Traditionally, it had been used to treat colds, pains, and swelling. The Nlaka'pmx peoples would place mint leaves around their dwellings to help ward off insect pests.

Mentha arvensis grows in lower to mid-elevations, preferring wet seepage sites, the edges of wetlands, and lakeshores.

  "The Herb Guy" Wild Mint & Cattails

Uploaded on Aug 17, 2010

Picking Wild Mint & The many uses of Cattails




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  Karen Nelson

Location: Onamia, MN

Hello. We found some growing on our property.

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