This "weed" came in with a load of topsoil a few years ago. It smells &
tastes like pennyroyal, I just love the stuff. So much that I brought some
with me when I moved to another state. I've been keeping it in a half-barrel
planter, and every year it seems to get worse. The newer growth doesn't seem
so much affected as the first spring shoots, though.
If it is indeed pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium), it requires constant
moisture. It even tolerates wet soil. It needs either full sun or part
shade and occasional feeding.
However, pennyroyal has round leaves. Your photos shows long, pointed
Be careful with pennyroyal, both in your garden and in your mouth. All
mints can become very invasive if they escape a container. Pennyroyal
can be toxic if you eat significant amounts, but it's safe in small
amounts (e.g., as a flavoring).
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
All true. I've grown M. pulegium before, but I think this is arvensis.
Actually its leaf form is more like the American pennyroyal, Hedeoma
pulegioides. But I wonder if the same compound that's bad is also in this,
as well as the American.
Here's what the plant normally looks like, maybe someone can confirm/deny my
The leaves are I guess at most 25mm long.
That's the problem with trying to photograph a 1.5mm flower (with a
10-year-old digital camera). With a 16x loupe I saw that the petal markings
are bilaterally symmetrical. A page I found on a similar, if not the same
"The 4-lobed and nearly symmetrical clusters of flowers along the stem
distinguish this so-called true mint from many others that have flowers in
slender spikes at the stem tips or in upper axils."
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