Mentha canadensis

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Mentha canadensis
Mentha canadensis.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Mentha
Species: M. canadensis
Binomial name
Mentha canadensis

Mentha canadensis (syn. M. arvensis var. canadensis) is a species of mint commonly known as American wild mint, native to North America (from Northwest Territories to central Mexico), or known as bakha,[1] East Asian wild mint,[1] or Japanese Mint (M. arvensis var. piperascens)[2] in eastern Asia (Siberia to Java) and the Northern Territory of Australia.[3] The flowers are bluish or a slight violet tint. The plant is upright about 4 inches (10 cm) to 18 inches (46 cm) tall. Leaves grow opposite from each other, and flower bunches appear at the upper leaf axil. The mint grows in wet areas but not directly in water, so it will be found near sloughs, lake and river edges. Flowers bloom from July to August.[4]

wild mint in Saskatchewan

The related species Mentha canadensis is also included in Mentha arvensis by some authors as two varieties, M. arvensis var. glabrata Fernald (in reference to North American plants) and M. arvensis var. piperascens Malinv. ex L. H. Bailey (in reference to eastern Asian plants).[2][5]


American wild mint is a perennial plant with an underground creeping rhizome and upright shoots. It can grow to a height of about 18 inches (460 mm). It has hairy stems bearing opposite pairs of leaves. Each leaf is borne on a short stalk and has a wedge-shaped base and is lanceolate or ovate, with a toothed margin and a hairy surface. The flowers are borne in spikes at the tips of the shoots. The flowers may be bluish, pink or white. They are arranged in a spiral around the inflorescence. Each flower has five sepals, four petals, four stamens and a superior ovary. The fruits are dry and split open when ripe releasing the two seeds.[6]

Native distribution[edit]

Mentha canadensis has been found as a native species of mint around the world. Below is a detailed list of countries and states that found Mentha canadensis to be native to the region.[2]


  • China
  • Eastern Asia: Japan - Hokkaido, - Honshu, - Kyushu, - Shikoku; Korea
  • Russian Far East: Russian Federation - Kurile Islands, - Khabarovsk, - Primorye, - Amur, - Sakhalin
  • Siberia: Russian Federation - Buryatia, - Tuva, - Yakutia-Sakha, - Krasnoyarsk, - Chita, - Irkutsk
  • Indian Subcontinent: Sri Lanka
  • Indo-China: Cambodia; Laos; Myanmar; Thailand; Vietnam
  • Malesia: Indonesia; Malaysia; Philippines

Northern America

  • Eastern Canada: Canada - Quebec, - Nova Scotia, - Ontario, - Prince Edward Island, - New Brunswick, - Newfoundland
  • North-Central U.S.A.: United States - Illinois, - Iowa, - Kansas, - Minnesota, - Missouri, - Nebraska, - North Dakota, - Oklahoma, - South Dakota, - Wisconsin
  • Northeastern U.S.A.: United States - Connecticut, - Indiana, - Maine, - Massachusetts, - Michigan, - New Hampshire, - New Jersey, - New York, - Ohio, - Pennsylvania, - Rhode Island, - Vermont, - West Virginia
  • Northwestern U.S.A.: United States - Colorado, - Idaho, - Montana, - Oregon, - Washington, - Wyoming
  • South-Central U.S.A.: United States - New Mexico, - Texas
  • Southeastern U.S.A.: United States - Kentucky, - Maryland, - North Carolina, - Tennessee, - Virginia
  • Southwestern U.S.A.: United States - Arizona, - California, - Nevada, - Utah
  • Subarctic America: Canada - Northwest Territory, - Yukon Territory; United States - Alaska
  • Western Canada: Canada - Saskatchewan, - Alberta, - Manitoba, - British Columbia


Mentha canadensis are cultivated throughout the world:

  • Africa
    • Angola, South Africa, Seychelles
  • Asia
    • China, Japan, Korea,Taiwan, India, Thailand, New Zealand
  • Northern America
    • Mexico, United States
  • Southern America
    • Brazil, Cuba, Argentina


The leaves have a distinct peppermint smell when pinched or crushed as the plant contains aromatic oils. Pick leaves at any time during plant growth, and they may be dried. Mint jelly is a popular preparation. To make mint tea, pour boiling water over a scant teaspoon full of dried leaves, or over 1/3 cup fresh leaves. Iced tea is also a treat. Mint leaf candy can also be made.[7] First nations people use mint tea to remedy bad breath or toothache, or to cure hiccups. The mint can also be used for fox or lynx bait.[8]

Mint essential is known to be effective as insect repellent for insects such as Drosophila melanogaster.[8]

Medicinal uses[edit]

One of the most important essential oils used in medicine is Japanese mint oil. Since Japanese mint is rich in natural menthol compared to the other mints species, menthol is a chemical that is used extensively in a number of pharmaceutical preparations. Approximately 4000 tons of Japanese mint oil and 2000 tons of menthol are produced in the world today (1998). The major producing countries are Brazil, Paraguay, Taiwan, Japan, China, India, and Thailand.[9]


  1. ^ a b English Names for Korean Native Plants (PDF). Pocheon: Korea National Arboretum. 2015. p. 537. ISBN 978-89-97450-98-5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2017. Retrieved 6 June 2017 – via Korea Forest Service.
  2. ^ a b c "Mentha canadensis". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  3. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  4. ^ Vance, F.R.; Jowsey, J.R.; McLean, J.S. (1977), Wildflowers Across the Prairies, Saskatoon, SK: Western Producer Books, p. 141, ISBN 0-919306-74-8
  5. ^ Quattrocchi, Umberto (1947), CRC World dictionary of plant names: Common names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synyonyms, and Etymology, III M-Q, CRC Press, p. 1659
  6. ^ "Mentha canadensis: American wild mint". Go Botany. Retrieved 2013-12-10.
  7. ^ Elias, Thomas S; Dykeman, Peter A. (1990), Edible Wild Plants A North American Field Guide, New York NY: Sterling Publishing Company Inc., pp. 143–144, ISBN 0-8069-7488-5
  8. ^ a b Johnson Kershaw, MacKinnon Pojar (1995), Plants of the Western Boreal Forest and Aspen Parkland, Edmonton Alberta: Lone Pine Publishing and the Canadian Forest Service., p. 162, ISBN 1-55105-058-7
  9. ^ Schultes, R. E. (1993). Conservation of Medicinal Plants, Edited by Olayiwola Akerele, Vernon Heywood & Hugh Synge. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, UK: xiii+ 362 pp., 20× 15× 3 cm, no price indicated, 1991. Environmental Conservation, 20(01), 93-93.