Mentha spicata - Spear Mint

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Lamiales - Family: Lamiaceae

Mentha spicata, Spear Mint

Spear Mint is the most commonly grown of the garden mint species, and if not controlled, quickly spreads and dominates the herb patch. It is equally successful when growing in the wild and can form large colonies in the right habitat.

Spear Mint flower spikes


Spear Mint has (unsurprisingly in view of its common name) a spear shaped terminal inflorescence (at the top of the stem), while the otherwise similar Corn Mint Mentha arvensis does not have a flower head at the terminal. This perennial plant spreads via rhizomes. It toothed leaves are in opposing pairs along the stems, and the tiny tubular pink to mauve flowers form in spikes comprising many closely stacked whorls.

Closeup of flowers of Spear Mint


This plant is a naturalised garden escape and is now widespread throughout the UK and Ireland except in the far north.


Spear Mint favours damp meadows and roadside ditches.

Similar species

Water Mint Mentha aquatica has inflorescences in bunched whorls separated by leaf pairs and it has a rounded terminal flower head.

The specimens shown on this page were photographed at Newborough Warren National Nature Reserve in Anglesey, North Wales in September.

Sue Parker's latest ebook is a revised and enlarged edition of Wild Orchids in The Burren. Full details here...

Buy it for just £5.95 on Amazon...

Sue Parker's new ebook is a comprehensive and fully revised edition of her acclaimed field guide to the Wild Orchids of Wales. Full details here...

Buy it for just £5.95 on Amazon...

Sue Parker's 5-star acclaimed field guide to the Wild Orchids of the Algarve is now available as an ebook. Full details here...

Buy it for just £5.95 on Amazon...

Wildflowers in the Algarve, an introductory guide, by Sue Parker

Sue Parker's revised and enlarged ebook second edition of the acclaimed Wildflowers in the Algarve - an introductory guide is now available.. Full details here...

Buy it for just £3.95 on Amazon...

Please Help Us: If you have found this information interesting and useful, please consider helping to keep First Nature online by making a small donation towards the web hosting and internet costs.

Any donations over and above the essential running costs will help support the conservation work of Plantlife, the Rivers Trust and charitable botanic gardens - as do author royalties and publisher proceeds from books by Pat and Sue.

© 1995 - 2024 First Nature: a not-for-profit volunteer-run resource

Please help to keep this free resource online...

Terms of use - Privacy policy - Disable cookies - Links policy