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Photo: Bramley, G.

Photo: Bramley, G.

Mentha longifolia (L.) Hudson

Photo J. Osbourne

Subfamily

VII. Subfam. Nepetoideae (Dumort.) Luerss. (1882).

VII. 2. Tribe Mentheae Dumort. (1827).

VII. 2. B. Subtribe Menthinae (Dumort.) Endl. (1838).

Description

Perennial, rarely annual herbs, subshrubs or shrubs, usually gynodioecious, strongly aromatic; stems often rhizomatous; inflorescence of few- to many-flowered axillary cymes, pedunculate or not, often forming either dense verticillasters along stem, in axils of leaf-like bracts, or congested into terminal spiciform thyrses in axils of reduced bracts; bracts leaf-like or reduced; bracteoles inconspicuous, rarely broader or digitately lobed; calyx ± actinomorphic, 5-(rarely 4-)lobed, lobes subequal, triangular to subulate or acicular, or slightly 2-lipped, (3/2), anterior lobes often longer, tube cylindrical to infundibuliform, 10-15-nerved, throat hairy or glabrous; corolla ± actinomorphic, 4-lobed, lilac, pink or white, lobes spreading, subequal, or posterior lobe slightly broader, often emarginate, corolla-tube ± cylindrical or rarely gibbous on anterior side, usually included within calyx-tube; stamens 4, subequal, exserted, divergent (included in male-sterile plants), anthers ellipsoidal, thecae parallel, distinct; stigma-lobes subequal, shortly spreading; disc ± symmetrical; nutlets ovoid, smooth to rugose, pale to dark brown, not mucilaginous; 2n = 18, 20, 24, 36, 40, 42, 48, 54, 60, 66, 72, 78, 84, 90, 96, 108, 120, 132. About 20 species in damp, open habitats, often by water, especially Mediterranean and Australasian (one species in New Zealand), but extending through Europe, Asia and Africa to the Cape, and with one species in North America. Some species cultivated since antiquity as potherbs and now introduced worldwide. Hybrids are of frequent occurrence in sect. Mentha (Harley and Brighton 1977). These can persist and spread widely by vegetative means. Mentha spicata L. and its hybrids, including M. x piperita L., and, in the subtropics, M. canadensis L. are of commercial importance. No modern infra-generic classification has yet been published, while previous systems such as those by Briquet (1897) are unsatisfactory.

Distribution

Native to:

10 Northern Europe
11 Middle Europe
12 Southwestern Europe
13 Southeastern Europe
14 Eastern Europe
20 Northern Africa
21 Macaronesia
22 West Tropical Africa
23 West-Central Tropical Africa
24 Northeast Tropical Africa
25 East Tropical Africa
26 South Tropical Africa
27 Southern Africa
29 Western Indian Ocean
30 Siberia
31 Russian Far East
32 Middle Asia
33 Caucasus
34 Western Asia
35 Arabian Peninsula
36 China
37 Mongolia
38 Eastern Asia
40 Indian Subcontinent
41 Indo-China
50 Australia
51 New Zealand
70 Subarctic America
71 Western Canada
72 Eastern Canada
73 Northwestern U.S.A.
74 North-Central U.S.A.
75 Northeastern U.S.A.
76 Southwestern U.S.A.
77 South-Central U.S.A.
78 Southeastern U.S.A.
79 Mexico
80 Central America
81 Caribbean
83 Western South America
84 Brazil
85 Southern South America
90 Subantarctic Islands

Introduced to:

60 Southwestern Pacific
61 South-Central Pacific
62 Northwestern Pacific
63 North-Central Pacific

Present, but doubtfully native to:

42 Malesia

Synonyms

Pulegium Mill., Gard. Dict. Abr. ed. 4 (1754)., (1753).

Preslia Opiz, Naturalientausch 8: 86 (1824).

Audibertia Benth., Edwards's Bot. Reg. 15: t. 1282 (1829).

Menthella Pérard, Bull. Soc. Bot. France 17: 205 (1870).

Minthe St.-Lag., Ann. Soc. Bot. Lyon 7: 130 (1880).

Publication

Mentha L., Sp. Pl. 2: 576 (1753); Harley, Flora Europaea 3: 183-186 (1972), rev. reg.; Harley, in P.H. Davis (ed.). Flora of Turkey 7: 384-394 (1982), rev. reg.

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Species found in RBG Kew living collections

1974-7238 Mentha X gentilis L.     111 21   :  156  
1974-7283 Mentha X gentilis L.     106  
2007-1991 Mentha X gracilis Sole  HIGD   111 03   :  111 08 
1994-3121 Mentha X piperita L.     111 11 
1969-9329 Mentha X piperita L. N GRAH 801 F 106  
1969-9295 Mentha X villosa Huds.  HRLE 729 F 157 18 
2000-839 Mentha aquatica L. N CUGJ 165  WAK_S MP5   :  WAK_S S/BANK 
1974-7284 Mentha aquatica L.     106  
1973-6411 Mentha aquatica L. N HRLE   106  
1969-9328 Mentha longifolia (L.) Huds. N HRLE 743 F 106  
1978-852  Mentha longifolia (L.) Huds. N WIKD  F 157 18 
2001-3416 Mentha pulegium L. N TERJ 239  WAK_S MP5 
1973-21479 Mentha requienii Benth.    F 734 01 
1975-6373 Mentha spicata L. N    106  
1969-9330 Mentha spicata L. N HRLE 812 F 106  
1972-6406 Mentha spicata L. N HRLE 12019 F 157 18 
1969-19673 Mentha suaveolens 'Variegata'     111 08 
1976-2826 Mentha suaveolens Ehrh. N LECH 1 F 157 18 
2007-1992 Mentha suaveolens Ehrh.  HIGD   111 03
 

Image resource

© Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew