According to Kew Species Profiles[KSP]
- General Description
A vigorous, aromatic perennial native to southern and western Europe, apple mint is grown as a culinary herb and ornamental.
A member of the mint family (Lamiaceae), apple mint is an aromatic herb with a fruity, spearmint flavour. Also known by the common name round-leaved mint, Mentha suaveolens is often misnamed M. rotundifolia in cultivation. Apple mint is cultivated as a culinary herb and is used in the production of mint sauce and jelly.
- Species Profile
Geography and distribution
Apple mint is native to southern and western Europe and is also naturalised in northern and central Europe.
Overview:A creeping, aromatic (apple-scented), perennial herb growing 40–100 cm tall. The stems are sparsely to densely hairy.
Leaves: The hairy, wrinkly leaves are 3.0–4.5 × 2.0–4.0 cm with toothed margins.
Flowers: Pink to white flowers are produced in dense terminal spikes (each consisting of many false whorls), 4–9 cm long.
Kew’s Olympic floral spectacular
From April to September 2012 a floral spectacular was in bloom in front of the Orangery at Kew Gardens to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic Games. This enormous representation of the Olympic rings could even be admired by air passengers flying over the Gardens.
The 50 m display included pelargoniums ( Pelargonium × hortorum ‘Horizon Red’), French marigolds ( Tagetes patula ‘Atom Yellow’) and lobelias ( Lobelia erinus ‘Cambridge Blue’). The black ring was created using black lilyturf ( Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’) and the green ring was planted with apple mint ( Mentha suaveolens).
The five interlaced rings designed in 1913 by the founder of the modern Olympic Games Baron Pierre de Coubertin represent the coming together of five continents to embrace the Olympic values: striving for excellence, demonstrating respect and celebrating friendship.
Apple mint leaves are used to make mint sauce and jelly, which are commonly served alongside lamb, tzatziki and tabbouleh. Leaves can be candied and also used for flavouring in herb teas and iced drinks. Apple mint leaves are hairy, and hence considered less suitable for use as a garnish than those of Mentha spicata (spearmint).
Commonly cultivated as a pot plant and culinary herb, apple mint is an invasive plant and must be kept in check if grown in open ground. The attractive cultivar Mentha suaveolens ‘Variegata’ (pineapple mint) has creamy-white streaked leaves and a sweet and fruity fragrance.
Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage
The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life worldwide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in our seed bank vault.
Three collections of apple mint seeds are held in Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank based at Wakehurst in West Sussex.
This species at Kew
Apple mint can be seen growing in the Queen’s Garden behind Kew Palace.
Pressed and dried specimens of Mentha suaveolens are held in Kew’s Herbarium, where they are available to researchers by appointment. The details of some of these specimens can be seen online in Kew’s Herbarium Catalogue.
- Damp or wet habitats.
- Not assessed according to IUCN Red List criteria.
Algeria, Azores, Baleares, Belgium, Canary Is., Corse, East Aegean Is., France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Kriti, Madeira, Morocco, Netherlands, Portugal, Sardegna, Sicilia, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkey-in-Europe
Alabama, Arizona, Austria, Belarus, California, Central European Rus, Chile North, Connecticut, Czechoslovakia, Delaware, Denmark, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Ireland, Louisiana, Maine, Masachusettes, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, New Zealand North, New Zealand South, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Poland, Romania, South Carolina, Sweden, Texas, Washington, Yugoslavia
- Apple mint
First published in Beitr. Naturk. 7: 149 (1792)
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-  Castroviejo, S. & al. (eds.) (2010) Flora Iberica 12: 1-650. Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Madrid.
-  Govaerts, R. (2003) World Checklist of Selected Plant Families Database in ACCESS . The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
-  (1988) Flora of New Zealand 4: 1-1365. R.E.Owen, Government Printer, Wellington.
-  World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (2010). Mentha suaveolens. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
-  Mabberley, D. J. (2008). Mabberley’s Plant-book: a Portable Dictionary of Plants, their Classification and Uses. 3rd Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
-  Huxley, A., Griffiths, M. & Levy, M. (eds) (1999). The New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening, Volume 3 (L to Q). Macmillan Reference, London.
-  Bown, D. (1996). The RHS Encyclopedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley Ltd, London.
-  Tutin, T. G. et al. (1972). Flora Europaea, Volume 3 (Diapensiaceae to Myoporaceae). Cambridge University Press, London.
International Plant Names Index
The International Plant Names Index (2016). Published on the Internet http://www.ipni.org
[A] © Copyright 2016 International Plant Names Index. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
Kew Species Profiles
Kew Species Profiles
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families(2016). Published on the Internet http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
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[E] © Copyright 2016 International Plant Names Index and World Checkist of Selected Plant Families. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0