Pharmdcopoeial name: Menthas viridis. Synonym: Mentha viridis L. Other common names: Mint, brown mint, garden mint, lamb mint, mackerel mint, Our Lady's mint, sage of Bethlehem. Habitat and range: Like peppermint, the spearmint has also been naturalized from Europe and may be found in moist fields and waste places from Nova Scotia to Utah and south to Florida. It is also cultivated to some extent for the distillation of the oil and is a familiar plant in gardens for domestic use. Description: Spearmint very much resembles peppermint. It does not grow perhaps quite so tall, the lance-shaped leaves are generally stemless or at least with very short stems, and the flowering spikes are narrow and pointed instead of thick and blunt. (Fig. 21.) The flowering period is the same as for peppermint from July to September. Collection, prices, and uses: The dried leaves and flowering tops are official in the United States Pharmacopoeia and should be collected before the flowers are fully developed. The price at present is about 31/2 cents a pound. Spearmint is used for similar purposes as peppermint, although its action is milder. The odor and taste closely resemble those of peppermint, but a difference may be detected, the flavor of spearmint being by some regarded as more agreeable. Oil of spearmint is also official in the United States Pharmacopoeia. It is obtained from the fresh or partially dried leaves and flowering tops.
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