Lamiaceae-Mint2017-08-17T16:28:13+00:00

Lamiaceae: Mint Family — Mints, Hedge-nettles & Horehound

Horehound – Marrubium vulgare

Blooms:

Mar–Nov

Plant Height:

20–60 cm

Flower Size:

Small cluster

Origin:

Europe

Invasive?

Yes – limited

Habitat:

Waste areas

Notes:

Horehound has whorls of small white flowers and conspicuously wrinkled gray to greenish-gray ovate leaves.  The plant is generally low-growing and spreading but with one or two taller flowering stems.  The calyx is unusual in being split into 10 hook-tipped, backward curving lobes.

American Cornmint – Mentha canadensis

Blooms:

July–Oct

Plant Height:

10–50 cm

Flower Size:

Small cluster

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Alongside or near water

Notes:

This is distinguished mainly by its leaves which reduce in size as they ascend the stem; they are aromatic, linear to lanceolate, serrated, tapered at the base with an acute tip and short hairs below. Petioles are 5–25 mm long. Flowers are pale lilac to white and in whorled clusters at intervals up the stem.

Pennyroyal – Mentha pulegium

Blooms:

July–Oct

Plant Height:

10–30 cm

Flower Size:

Small cluster

Origin:

Europe

Invasive?

Yes – moderate

Habitat:

Low moist places

Notes:

The lavender to violet flowers are in small, dense clusters, each subtended by reflexed, ovate to lance-linear, lead-like bracts. leaves are 5–25 mm long, aromatic, ovate to lanceolate, sometimes serrated and reducing in size as they ascend the stem. Its essential oil has been used as an insect repellent but is potentially fatal if ingested.

Coyote Mint – Monardella villosa subsp. villosa

Blooms:

May–Aug

Plant Height:

10–60 cm

Flower Size:

Medium

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Open rocky or gravelly places

Notes:

A common plant, sometimes low and straggly, sometimes in a large bushy clump. The pink to purple flowers are generally in clusters of 1–6.  Leaves are opposite and densely hairy. Although the leaves can be curled, this species can be distinguished from the rare Curly-leaved Monardella (Monardella sinuata subsp. nigrescens) by the absence of dark veins on the bracts subtending the flowers.

Self-heal – Prunella vulgaris var. vulgaris

Blooms:

June–Sept

Plant Height:

10–50 cm

Flower Size:

Small clusters

Origin:

Europe

Habitat:

Lawn weed

Notes:

More common than the native Lanceleaf Self-heal (var. lanceolata), this is a common lawn weed.  The stem is prostrate, occasionally decumbent to erect.  The blue-violet, 2-lipped flowers are clustered around a short spike.  Leaves have a wedge-shaped base and are 2 × as long as they are wide.

Lanceleaf Self-heal – Prunella vulgaris var. lanceolata

Blooms:

May–Sept

Plant Height:

10–50 cm

Flower Size:

Small clusters

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Coastal bluffs and shaded woodland

Notes:

This is similar to the more common Self-heal (var. vulgaris) but the leaves are 3 × as long as they are wide and the plant has a more erect growth habit. The pink-purple flowers have a paler and sometimes toothed lower lip. Bracts have marginal hairs.

Bugle Hedge-nettle – Stachys ajugoides

Blooms:

June–Sept

Plant Height:

60–100 cm

Flower Size:

Large clusters

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Moist places

Notes:

This is similar in general appearance to the far more common Woodmint (Stachys bullata) but with stems that tend to be less erect and much paler whitish to pale pink flowers. Flowers are in whorls of 3–6. Leaves are generally oblong with silky hairs, a wedge-shaped base and a rounded tip.

Woodmint / California Hedge-nettle – Stachys bullata

Blooms:

Mar–Sept

Plant Height:

40–90 cm

Flower Size:

Large clusters

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Dry slopes and canyons near coast; widespread

Notes:

Very common, this has a more or less erect stem with interrupted clusters  of 6 whorled, rose-purple flowers. Leaves are opposite, ovate, slightly hairy and with scalloped-toothed margins. The plant has a distinct aroma on which opinions are sharply divided between those who find it pleasant and those who definitely do not.

Short-spiked Hedge-nettle – Stachys pycnantha

Blooms:

May–July

Plant Height:

30–100 cm

Flower Size:

Large clusters

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Moist places, often on serpentine or in oak or pine forest

Notes:

Uncommon, this has a short, generally uninterrupted dense spike of white to pale pink flowers in whorls of 8–12. Leaves are lanceolate with a more or less obtuse tip. The plant is hairy and very aromatic.