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Spearmint

Spearmint (Mentha spicata, syn M. viridis) is a species of mint native to central and southern Europe, where it grows in wet soils. It is not a type of fern.

Spearmint is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 30-100 cm tall, with leaves growing 5-9 cm long and 1.5-3 cm broad, with a serrated margin. The flowers are produced in slender spikes, each flower pink or white, 2.5-3 mm long and broad.

Hybrids involving Spearmint include Peppermint (Mentha piperita, hybrid with Watermint M. aquatica), Gingermint (Mentha gracilis, syn M. cardiaca, hybrid with Cornmint Mentha arvensis), and Large apple mint (Mentha villosa, hybrid with Apple mint Mentha suaveolens).

It is widely stated that the name comes from the "spear" shaped leaves. Its leaves are, however, no more "spear" shaped than any other mint leaf. A more probable source for the name is the monastic order of St Pierre, whose monks are thought to have cultivated the herb.


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