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Mentha spicata


Mentha spicata L.

Family Name: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Synonyms: Mentha sylvestris, Mentha longifolia var. mollissima, Mentha viridis, Mentha longifolia var. undulata, Mentha cordifolia, Mentha longifolia
Common Name: Spearmint, English Mint, 留兰香


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 0.3 m to 1 m


Native Distribution Europe, Asia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Riverine)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Perennial herb produced from a creeping rhizome. Has an upright growth habit.
Foliage Leaves light green and ovate to lanceolate with deep veins and serrate leaf margin. Leaves have opposite arrangement and little to no petioles. Leaves are often hairless on both sides, but the lower side may have a few hairs. Rubbing the leaves releases a minty fragrance.
Flowers Flowers (3 mm long) encircle the floral stalk near the tip and are arranged in a spike inflorescence (4 – 10 cm long). Flowers are tubular and 4-lobed. Long stamens extend past the petals.
Fruit Fruits are smooth, ovate nutlets with a hairy apex. Nutlets are small, one-seeded fruits produced when the seed-bearing structure fragments. Each flower produces 4 nutlets.
Others - Plant Morphology Stem: Stems are 4-sided. Propagation: Propagate by division of roots or stem cuttings.Caution: Touching the leaves may irritate the skin for some people.
Habitat Found near the edge of streams or ditches. Also found in meadows and abandoned fields.
Cultivation Space plants 0.9 – 1.2 m apart. Tolerant of many types of soil, but keep soil moist at all times. Ideal soil would have a pH of 5.5 – 7.5 and good drainage. Plants are susceptible to aphids, rust and powdery mildew. Every 3 years, replace plants with new ones. Harvest leaves before or soon after flowering for optimal flavor. After flowering, cut back the plants to promote new growth.
Etymology The genus name “Mentha” comes from a Greek myth about a nymph named “Minthe” (also known as Menthe) who became Pluto’s mistress. Pluto’s jealous wife transformed Minthe into a mint plant.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Leaves
Food (Herb and Spice)
Others: Food: Leaves are used to flavor teas, desserts, candies, vegetable dishes and sauces. The leaves are commonly used in Indian cuisine. Leaves may also be consumed raw, such as adding them to salads. Medicine: Inhaling the essential oils may help relieve some cold symptoms. Leaves are also used as a medicinal stimulant. It is thought that drinking spearmint tea helps to relieve headaches, fever, and digestive problems. Others: The leaves contain antioxidants that have potential to preserve fresh meat and allow it to be stored longer (Kanatt et al 2007). Leaf extracts have antifungal properties. Singh et al (1994) demonstrated that leaf extracts inhibited the growth of the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lentis. The oil may also be used to flavor toothpaste. Lawrence (1993) estimated an annual, worldwide production of 851 tons of spearmint oil, worth US$17 million.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Fragrant (Foliage, Flowers) (Time Independent)
Landscape Uses Container Planting
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden
Usage Hazard - Cons Remarks Touching the leaves may cause skin irritation for some people.

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Butterfly Food Plant
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Butterfly, Moth))
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Rootzone Tolerance Easy to Grow, Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Poor Infertile Soils, Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site), Shallow Media (8 -10cm)
Maintenance Requirements Low
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting, Division


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Raised / Sunken Veins, Thin
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate, Lanceolate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Serrate / Toothed
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute, Rounded
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse
Typical Foliar Area Microphyll ( 2.25cm2 - 20.25 cm2 )

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Herbaceous
Root Type Underground (Tap Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Pink, Purple, White
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Tubular
Inflorescence Type Spike
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flowering Opening Time Daytime

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Brown
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Indehiscent Dry Fruit , Nut / Nutlet

Image Repository



Master ID 30637
Species ID 4946
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 23 February 2022.