Spearmint herb or garden mint or common mint has long been reputed for its characteristic aroma it imparts to the recipes it added to. The least pungent and subtle among the species of mint family, this unique herb is one of chef’s main culinary favorites.
Mint herb botanically belongs to the family of Lamiaceae, of the genus: Mentha. Scientific name: Mentha spicata.
The plant is a branching perennial herb of Mediterranean origin. It is widely used across Europe and in large parts of Asia and Africa in flavored drinks, salads and confectionary and as a garnish to recipes.
The herb grows easily in fertile, moist and loose soil with underground runners. In general, the divisions are planted to propagate. The plant reaches about 75 cm in height, and bears oppositely arranged leaves all along the thick square stem. The leaves are deep green, deeply-veined, oval shape with pointed ends and serrated margins. Slim pointed spikes of mauve flowers appear during late summer.
There are at least 20 species of mint and their hybrids exist, most of them difficult to classify because of their variability and readiness to hybridize among each other. Here are some mint herbs apart from the popularpeppermint and water mints;
- Pineapple mint (M.suaveolens),
- Ginger mint (M. x gentilis),
- Japanese mint M. arvensis var.piperascens),
- Corn mint (M. arvensis),
- Bergamot or horsemint (M. Piperita var.citrata).