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Mentha piperita, Peppermint men tha pipe uh ree tah

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Mentha piperita, Peppermint
men – tha pipe – uh – ree – tah

  • Description: Spreading, rhizomatous perennial that grows wild in damp places and is extensively cultivated for its mint-flavored foliage.

  • Origin: Europe.

  • Height x width: 2 to 3 feet high.

  • Growth habit: Spreading.

  • Foliage: Square stems and opposite leaves. Peppermint leaves are attached to the stems by short petioles. Stems are usually purple and leaves can also be purple-tinged, particularly if the crop is suffering from water stress.

  • Flowers: Thick and blunt spikes of lilac-pink flowers in mid-summer attract insects in droves.

  • Culture: Moist, fertile soil in light shade (or in full sun to slow growth). Keep roots contained and divide often to prevent legginess or aggressive spreading (although peppermint is not quite as invasive as spearmint).

  • Uses: Groundcover, herb garden, harvest of sprigs to use fresh, frozen or dried as a flavoring when cooking. Dried peppermint leaf is used in herb teas and is regarded as a stimulant; the whole plant has an aromatic odor; its oil is used to flavor candies and toothpaste.

  • Other facts of interest: Peppermint is a sterile hybrid derived from a cross between Mentha aquatica and M. spicata.

  • Propagation: Seed, root cuttings, division.

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