Why Is Peppermint Like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Kathleen M Hale, Western Reserve Herb Society

peppermint for XmasMy herb spiral is my mad scientist laboratory.  Just outside my kitchen door, it is the only part of my garden to experience full sun.  The soil is much-amended with compost.  And, that is where I plant essential kitchen herbs and the occasional experiment, like a new herb that bears close watching.

However, over the last few gardening seasons, it has devolved largely into a jungle of mint.  Mystery mint.  Muddle mint.  A promiscuous genetic mix of whatever mint I have ever planted, plus whatever mint blew in on its own. In my defense, that’s what mint does.  And sometimes, the result is something else.

Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) is a hybrid plant, a cross between water mint (Mentha aquatica) and spearmint (Mentha picata).  It was first mistakenly identified by Linnaeus in 1753 as a separate…

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