South Dakota Native Plant Research
Lamiaceae : Mentha arvensis

Lamiaceae : Mentha arvensis


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Family Name


Common Name

Field mint, wild mint

Native American Name

Lakota: čheyáka


Mentha arvensis is an aromatic, perennial, rhizomatous herb with square, simple to branched, ascending to erect stems growing from 30-90 cm tall. The stems are usually hairy to nearly smooth with rings of hairs at the nodes. The simple, opposite leaf blades are lanceolate to ovate, 2.5-12 cm long and 5-40 mm wide, slightly small toward the top, with the upper surface generally without hairs and the lower surface with hairs along the veins. The margins are toothed with hairs along the edges and the petioles are 3-15 mm long. The inflorescence consist of paired 8-30 flowered cymes in the axils of leafy bracts. Each flower with a pedicel 1-3 mm long. The 5-lobed hairy calyx is tubular to bell-shaped, 2.5 -3.3 mm long, with teeth about ¼ length of the tube. The weakly bilabiate corolla is whitish to lavender in color, 4.5-6.5 mm long. The 4 stamens and the style are exerted from the corolla by 1-2 mm. the fruit are 4 nutlets. Field mint blooms from July into September in moist shaded sites, streambanks, lake shores and marshes throughout South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Field mint is often located by stepping on the plant and smelling the delicious aroma. The plant makes a strong mint tea that is part of the traditions of many American indigenous cultures. As a native garden addition, it attracts small bees and occasionally butterflies, the fruits attract small birds. The plant is very aggressive and will rapidly take over large areas. Wild mint is not particularly showy, but if you want an abundant source of mint for consumption, it can be a good choice.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Collect seed in July-September.
Germination: No pretreatment needed.
Vegetative Propagation: Division of rhizomes.
Soils: Rich well drained loamy or sandy soils.
Light: Full sun to partial shade.
Water: Moist conditions.

Lamiaceae : Mentha arvensis