Mentha spicata L.


Sp. Pl. 576 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Erect, rhizomatous herb to 1 m high, often rooting at lower nodes; branches glabrous or with scattered hairs, often tinged purple. Leaves ovate or oblong-ovate, 20–90 mm long, 10–35 mm wide, surfaces glabrous or with scattered hairs, veins sometimes reticulate and strongly impressed above, apex obtuse or acute, base cordate, margin serrate; sessile. Inflorescence terminal, spike-like, 2–6 cm long; flowers in dense, many-flowered clusters, the internodes sometimes obscured; pedicels much shorter than to sub-equal to calyx. Calyx 1.5–2.5 mm long, 10-veined, lobes c. half as long to as long as tube, glabrous or with scattered hairs, particularly on margin; corolla white, pink or lilac, exceeding calyx by 1.5–2.5 mm, lobes 1–2 mm long, the posterior one entire or barely emarginate; anthers strongly exserted. Flowers mostly Dec.–Apr.

*CVU, *DunT, *EGL, *EGU, *GipP, *Gold, *HNF, *HSF, *NIS, *OtR, *Strz, *VAlp, *VRiv, *VVP, *WaP. Also naturalised WA, SA, NSW, Tas. Origin unknown, probably native to the northern Mediterranean region, but possibly a fertile hybrid arisen in cultivation. Scattered usually in cooler parts of the State, in ditches, dams, verges of watercourses etc. Commonly cultivated as a culinary herb.

The commonly naturalised variant has more or less glabrous leaves with hardly impressed venation, and inflorescences discontinuous, with lower flower clusters usually distant from the remainder. The variant most commonly cultivated (and occasionally naturalised) has leaves with impressed, reticulate venation, often with spreading hairs on the lower surfaces, and usually continuous inflorescences.

Source: Conn, B.J. (1999). Lamiaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 4, Cornaceae to Asteraceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2019-08-26
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Asteranae
order Lamiales
family Lamiaceae
genus Mentha
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Mentha spicata in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Mentha spicata in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present introduced
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Warrnambool Plain present introduced
Goldfields present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
Dundas Tablelands present naturalised
Northern Inland Slopes present introduced
East Gippsland Lowlands present naturalised
East Gippsland Uplands present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised
Highlands-Northern Fall present naturalised
Otway Ranges present naturalised
Strzelecki Ranges present naturalised
Victorian Alps present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory