Musky-Smelling Mint?

eibren(z6PA)May 8, 2008

Does anyone know of a plant that looks like a mint, with the square stem and little purple flowers at leaf axils along the stem that has a smell like musk? (Possibly a weed?)

I was out cutting vines away from some herb pots in my back garden tonight, and at first I thought I had disturbed a burrowing animal of some sort, from the scent, but then I spotted the little mint-like plant and crushed a leaf--and it was the plant!

I am wondering if it is a cross between some of my mints and either the ground ivy or another tiny little plant I have running around my yard that also has the teeny purple flowers at its leaf axils...or if it is just one of those grown larger under the protection of the plant pot.

I couldn't find anything on Google about a mint that had a musk fragrance, and I'd never noticed that little weed smelling like that before, either.

It is also near horehound, and looks a bit like that, too, but with green leaves, not furry ones.

Several years ago, I did buy some black horehound by mistake--I was pretty annoyed when I found out it was poisonous...I suppose this could be some of it grown wild, too...?

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    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 4:30PM
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The fragrance is much stronger and muskier than Patchouli...also, Patchouli is not winter-hardy in my area, so it wouldn't have survived here.

I am inclined to thnk the little weed interbred with the horehound, if that is possible... :oS

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 2:34AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

How about Purple Dead Nettle? Compare to pictures in the link below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Google Images - Purple Dead Nettle

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 10:56AM
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Thank you, Fatamorgana, that is similar to the little weed I have running around my lawn, and the leaf is similar, too--but the plant I am wondering about has a stretch of visible stem between each leaf axis, as does ground ivy.

I'm beginning to wonder if it is really just young ground ivy. I actually introduced some of that in some shady spots so I could have it for tea. Maybe its growth habit is different with more sun. The leaves are smaller and the flowers a bit larger and more colorful than I am used to.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 1:04AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

I have ground ivy that grows in full sun as well as shady areas. Ground ivy doesn't seem to care overly much about conditions and grows where it pleases. I included a link to a picture of it below.

If you can post a picture, I can probably help with the id a little more.


Here is a link that might be useful: Ground Ivy

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 1:28PM
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Thanks, FataMorgana. That particular site's photo comes rather cllllose to it, although my plant has more stem between leaves, and smaller flowers.

It probably is just plain ground ivy; the scent and different form misled me.

I like to make tea out of it, and consider it an herb rather than a weed. I also think it's very attractive, and certainly not as invasive as Yellow Archangel. ;o)

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 1:06AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Glad to help. I think weeds are just plants that are in the wrong location. That said, I happily share my lawn with dandelion, ground ivy, self-heal, plantain, dock, clover, yarrow, chickweed, and more. All of them have their uses. Not to mention that they are green in august when the grass is brown. Enjoy!


    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 6:51PM
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it could possibly be a full grown chia plant, they are in the same family as mint and look surprisingly similar but they dont smell very good, almost an ammonia scent. i found this out when i had bought a chia kit but got sick of replanting those stupid little seeds on that head and then they always died, so i planted them in a pot and they actually got pretty big, they are a lot darker in color than the mint plant but have that same square stem and soft herb like leaves.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 1:38PM
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it could also be catnip

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 3:12PM
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I know this is an older post, but I have the same thing in my yard. While mowing over the weekend, I smelled very strong mint. I couldn't figure it out. I came across this forum and remembered that I mowed over some purpled-flowered weeds. I actually associated the smell with Vapor Rub. It was very strong.

I think my plant is closer to the Black Horehound, but spaced very far apart from each other... like a wildflower, not ivy or a bush. Black Horehound is poisonous?? I read it had medicinal purposes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Black Horehound

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 8:14AM
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