Mentha x piperita L. (Lamiaceae) Var. ´Danica´
Peppermint ´Danica´ variety contains essential oils 31.72-33.93 ml/kg dry weight. The main compounds are menthol, p-menthone, and pulegone.
Whole plant, leaves or essential oil are used for flavouring, perfumery, and pharmaceuticals. Medicinal uses are internal as a tea to improve digestion. It is a carminative herb with a peppermint-like scent. It can be used externally for skin problems. Peppermint has an antimicrobial, insecticidal and antioxidant activity.
Leaves can be harvested at any time. They are best used fresh and have short storage life. Dried mint loses its flavour.
Botanical description and occurrence:
Mentha x piperita is native to Europe. It is a hybrid between M. aquatica and M. spicata. Peppermint is present on fields, near gardens, in wet ditches and on the banks of rivers and springs.
It is a very variable herbaceous perennial plant with a peppermint-scented aroma. Like many mints, it has a creeping rhizome, with erect to creeping stems 40–80 cm tall. The ´Danica´ variety is 80 cm tall. The leaves are oblong-elliptical to lanceolate, toothed, 4–8 cm long and 2.5–3.5 cm broad, green to red-green. The flowers are 3–5 mm long, lilac, or pale violet, produced in clusters on tall, branched, tapering spikes; flowering from July till September. It spreads via rhizomes to form clonal colonies.
Mentha x piperita and its variety are propagated vegetatively from cuttings or rhizomes.
Why to have the plant in your garden:
Whole plant (or its leaves) is used as a medicinal plant. The leaves contain several valuable anti-cancer phytochemicals.
Leaves are used in culinary as well as in teas, iced drinks, and salads. Flowering stems can be used in flower arranging for creating bouquets and wreaths. Especially in the moist soils peppermint is an invasive plant.
Dr. Jarmila Neugebauerová, Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic
Dr. Jarmila Neugebauerová, Mendel University in Brno
Links to scientific articles (if it is possible):
Neugebauerová, J. Kaffková, K. (2012): Variability of essential oil content of Mentha L. taxa. Acta Universitatis Agriculturae et Silviculturae Mendelianae Brunensis. 2012. sv. 60, č. 8, s. 187-190. ISSN 1211-8516.
Pavela, R. Kaffková, K., Kumšta, M. (2014): Chemical Composition and Larvicidal Activity of Essential Oils from Different Mentha L. and Pulegium Species against Culex quinquefasciatus Say (Diptera: Culicidae). Plant Protection Science. 2014. sv. 50, č. 1, s. 36-42. ISSN 1212-2580