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Field Mint can be distinguished from the cultivated mints primarily by its distinct whorls of flowers. According to Mohlenbrock (2002), the native variety of Field Mint, Mentha arvensis villosa, has petioles that are longer than the clusters of flowers and its leaf blades are more wedge-shaped at the base than the typical Eurasian variety, Mentha arvensis arvensis. The hairiness of individual plants is also variable. Field Mint occasionally hybridizes with Mentha spicata (Spearmint) and other mints, producing such hybrids as Mentha × gentilis, Mentha × cardiaca, and others. Many of these hybrids have naturalized in Illinois, preferring similar habitats to Field Mint. Like the cultivated mints, Field Mint can be used to make a pleasant herbal tea. In humans, the floral oil of mints is more likely to disrupt populations of harmful bacteria, reducing flatulence and other digestive problems.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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