Help Identifying Mint

sydneyrooJuly 20, 2009

We recently moved into a new house and I have a hillside with a variety of odds and ends growing on it. One plant I am sure is in the mint family because it smells minty, has square stems, and opposite leaves, but I have never seen mint this small before:

Any ideas what it is?

I also have this mystery plant, which isn't an herb. It's about 18 inches tall, has thorny stems and leaves, and some kind of fruit growing on it that look a bit like green cherry tomatoes.

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the photos didn't show up so here are the links:

Mystery Plant

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 5:56PM
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The minty plant could be pennyroyal? Just a guess-- I'd do better if I could smell it.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 7:47AM
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Your mystery plpant is one of the nightshade family. Assume it's toxic in all parts.

The "mint" ... don't use it unless you can absolutely identify it. Pennyroyal has enough of a "minty" taste that people have made themselves very ill using it in iced tea and juleps.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 11:31AM
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francescod(6b/7a VA)

Your "mint" does not appear to be a member of the genus Mentha (the true mints). The square stems put it in the family Lamiaceae which includes: savory, basil, mint, sage, and many other herbs. Pictures of the flowers and a close-up of the leaf would help greatly in identifying the plant.

It could be Clinopodium vulgare-common name Wild Basil. I'm not sure of the origin of the common name as it has very little in common with Basil (Ocimum sp.) and is not closely related. Clinopodium vulgare is a widely distributed weed closely related to calamint (Calamintha sp), which is another possible i.d. for your plant. It was at one time classified as a species of Satureja (the genus that includes savory and yerba buena). If it is Clinopodium vulgare, it should begin flowering very soon.

F. DeBaggio

Here is a link that might be useful: Photo of Clinopodium vulgare

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 1:13PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Your mystery plant is a Solanum, a plant in the nightshade family as lazygardens mentioned. It looks like Horsenettle Solanum carolinense to me.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 9:44AM
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farmsteward(North Carolina 7)

Mystery plant is horse nettle for sure. Grasp the plant at the base while wearing heavy gloves and pull it, and as much of the roots that you can find, out of the ground. It will continue to sprout from roots.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 11:03PM
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