The Mint Family

American Germander Bluecurls Wild Bergamot Spotted Beebalm

What are they?

The Mint family is a large family of plants, found throughout much of the world. Many species have attractive flowers and are often heavily scented; a number of them are used as culinary or medicinal herbs. Most members of the family have heads of tubular flowers and four-angled stems.

Where are they found?

Plants in this family can be found in most habitats with many being weeds of disturbed ground. Others may be found in wetlands, open fields or woodland.

Identification

The combination of flower and leaf will identify most species; some groups, such as the Water Horehounds need more careful scrutiny.



Common Bugle      Ajuga reptans

Introduced from Europe. There are no published records of this species for Cape May County, but it is currently known from waste ground in Cape May City. A popular garden plant which may occur anywhere on waste ground or roadsides. Flowers May to June. Flowering spikes usually tinged purple. Forms low, spreading mats.
Common Bugle Common Bugle
Habit
Flower

American Germander     Teucrium canadense

Occasional along waterways and the margins of wetlands. Flowers June to August. Germanders differ from many other members of the mint family by having no upper petal to the flower.
American Germander American Germander American Germander American Germander
Habit
Flower spike
Flower
Leaf

Bluecurls     Trichostema dichotomum

(Forked Bluecurls) Favors dry, sandy soils in open woods or partially shaded banks. Flowers August to September. Flowers distinctive, with their long, curved stamens.
Bluecurls Bluecurls Bluecurls Bluecurls
Habit
Flower from side
Flower from front
Seed pod

Blue Skullcap     Scutellaria lateriflora

Uncommon in shady, wet ground in open woods, and other damp areas. Flowers June to September. Flowers carried in pairs.
Blue Skullcap Blue Skullcap Blue Skullcap Blue Skullcap
Habit
Flower spike
Flower close-up
Leaf

Hyssop Skullcap     Scutellaria integrifolia

Common in shady, wet ground in open woods, hedgerows and field margins. Flowers June to July.
Hyssop Skullcap Hyssop Skullcap Hyssop Skullcap
Flower spike
Flower close-up
Leaf

Cat-mint     Nepeta cataria

(Catnip) A European introduction, occasionally found in disturbed ground and waste places. Flowers June to August.
Cat-mint Cat-mint Cat-mint Cat-mint
Habit
Flower spike
Flower close-up
Leaf

Low Cat-mint     Nepeta x faassenii

A garden hybrid, originally introduced from Europe. Occasionally found where garden waste is dumped or where planted and surviving in dunes and other open places. Flowers June to August or later.
Low Cat-mint Low Cat-mint Low Cat-mint Low Cat-mint
Habit
Flowers
Flower close-up
Leaf

Russian Sage      Perovskia atriplicifolia

Introduced from Europe as a garden plant and occasionally found as a garden throwout or relic of cultivation. Flowers July to September or later. Similar to some of the cat-mints bit readily told by the deeply cut leaves.
Russian Sage Russian Sage Russian Sage Russian Sage
Habit
Flowers
Flower close-up
Leaf

Ground-ivy     Glechoma hederacea

(Gill-over-the-ground) A European introduction, common in shady or semi-shaded roadsides, field edges and open woodland. Sometimes in lawns and flower borders. Flowers April to June. Forms extensive low mats of vegetation which can spread rapidly and become invasive.
Ground-ivy Ground-ivy Ground-ivy Ground-ivy
Habit
Habit
Flowers
Leaf

Common Selfheal     Prunella vulgaris

(Heal-all) Native, but also occurs as an introduction from Europe. All kinds of shady and semi-shaded, grassy places; sometimes as a garden escape in urban areas. Flowers June to October. Similar to skullcaps but flowers in tighter heads. Flowers vary from pale pinkish-white to bluish-purple.
Common Selfheal Common Selfheal Common Selfheal Common Selfheal
Flower spike
Flower spike
Flower spike
Leaves

Henbit Dead-nettle     Lamium amplexicaule

Common and widespread in disturbed ground of gardens and cultivated fields. Flowers mostly late March to May, but occasionally in other months too. Flowers protrude from a frill of leaf-like bracts.
Henbit Dead-nettle Henbit Dead-nettle Henbit Dead-nettle Henbit Dead-nettle
Young flowers
Mature flowers
Mature flowers
Leaves

Red Dead-nettle     Lamium purpureum

(Purple Dead-nettle) A common to abundant annual weed of lawns, cultivated fields and other disturbed areas. Introduced from Europe. Flowers mostly March to May, but occasionally in other months too.
Red Dead-nettle Red Dead-nettle Red Dead-nettle Red Dead-nettle
Habit
Flower from front
Flower from side
Leaf

Motherwort     Leonurus cardiaca

Introduced from Europe. Once not uncommon as an escape from cultivation, but now rare. Flowers June to July. A tall member of the mint family which may grow to three feet high. The strongly five-ribbed and five-toothed calyx tube distinguishes this from other species which may occur in the region.
Motherwort Motherwort Motherwort Motherwort
Flowers
Basal leaf
Upper stem leaf
Seed capsule

Lyre-leaved Sage     Salvia lyrata

Occasional in open woodland and shady field edges. Flowers May to June. Leaves are deeply lobed and usually have dark, purplish blotching.
Lyre-leaved Sage Lyre-leaved Sage Lyre-leaved Sage Lyre-leaved Sage
Flower spike
Flower close-up
Leaf
Early leaf rosette

Wild Bergamot     Monarda fistulosa

Favors partially shady, grasses edges of fields and open woodland margins. Sometimes grown in gardens so may occur as an escape from cultivation. Flowers July to September.
Wild Bergamot Wild Bergamot Wild Bergamot
Habit
Flowers
Leaf

Spotted Beebalm     Monarda punctata

Common in open, often bare, sandy soil in old fields, roadsides and coastal dunes. Flowers July to October. A distinctive and easily-recognized species with eye-catching, pink bracts on the flowering spikes. Flowers may be dotted with brown, or unspotted, pale yellow.
Spotted Beebalm Spotted Beebalm Spotted Beebalm Spotted Beebalm
Habit
Flowers
Flowers
Leaf

Lemon Balm     Melissa officinalis

(Common Balm) Introduced from Europe as a garden ornamental and occassionally found where garden waste has been dumped or where self-seeded. Flowers July to September. Leaves distinctly saw-edged with well-defined veins. Best identified by the strong lemon smell emitted when the leaves are rubbed.
Lemon Balm Lemon Balm Lemon Balm
Habit
Flower
Leaf

Wild Basil     Clinopodium vulgare

Occasional in hedge bottoms, roadsides, field margins and similar grassy places. Flowers June to September.
Wild Basil Wild Basil Wild Basil Wild Basil
Habit
Flower
Leaf
Stem

American Dittany     Cunila origanoides

A scarce plant of dry, shady woodland in the lower half of the county. Flowers August to September. Plant smells very strongly of Oregano and leaves have distinctive sunken, glandular dots on them.
American Dittany American Dittany American Dittany American Dittany
Habit
Flower
Leaf
Leaf close-up

Virginia Water Horehound     Lycopus virginicus

(Bugleweed) Grows in damp soil in open woodland and along shady field margins. Flowers July to October.
Virginia Water Horehound Virginia Water Horehound Virginia Water Horehound Virginia Water Horehound
Habit
Flowers
Flower close-up
Leaf

Sessile-leaved Water Horehound     Lycopus amplectens

Occasional in marshes and swamps. Flowers August to October. Unlike other Lycopus species, has unstalked leaves. Note that the photograph shows an unusual plant with untoothed leaves.
Sessile-leaved Water Horehound Sessile-leaved Water Horehound Sessile-leaved Water Horehound Sessile-leaved Water Horehound
Habit
Flowers
Flowers
Leaf

Stalked Water Horehound     Lycopus rubellus

An uncommon plant of marshes and swampy woodland. Flowers August to October. Leaves elongated at the base.
Stalked Water Horehound Stalked Water Horehound Stalked Water Horehound
Flowers
Flowers
Leaf

Cut-leaved Water-hound     Lycopus americanus

Damp ground of swamps, marshes and other boggy hollows. Flowers July to October. Lower leaves cut deeply, forming separate lobes.
Cut-leaved Water-hound Cut-leaved Water-hound Cut-leaved Water-hound Cut-leaved Water-hound
Habit
Flowers
Leaf
Stem smooth, or almost so

Gipsywort     Lycopus europaeus

Infrequent in wetlands but can form quite extensive patches. Introduced from Europe. Flowers July to October.
Gipsywort Gipsywort Gipsywort Gipsywort
Habit
Flower spike
Leaf
Seed capsules

Spear Mint     Mentha spicata

Introduced from Europe as a garden herb. Occasionally found on the sites of old houses and in grassy places. Flowers June to October. Leaves have a familiar spearmint smell and have marginal teeth that curve outwards.
Spear Mint Spear Mint
Habit
Flower spike

Round-leaved Mint     Mentha suaveolens

(Apple Mint) Introduced from Europe as a garden herb. Occasionally found on the sites of old houses and other marginal corners in urban or suburban areas. Flowers June to September.
Round-leaved Mint Round-leaved Mint Round-leaved Mint Round-leaved Mint
Habit
Flower spike
Leaf
Leaf underside