Mentha canadensis Linn. Labiatae. Mint.
A plant found on the wet banks of brooks from New England to Kentucky and north-ward, and occasionally cultivated in gardens for the leaves, which are used in flavoring. The Indians of Maine eat mint roasted before the fire and salted and think it nourishing.
Mentha piperita Linn. Peppermint.
Europe, Asia and northern Africa. Peppermint is grown on a large scale for the sake of its oil, which is obtained by distillation, and which finds extensive use for flavoring candies and cordials and in medicine. There are large centers of its culture in the United States, Europe and Asia. It is grown to a limited extent for the leaves which are used for seasoning. Mint is spoken of as if not a garden plant by Ray, 1724, who describes two varieties, the broad and the narrow leaved. In 1778, it is included by Mawe, among garden herbs; in 1806, it is noticed among American garden plants and is now an escape from cultivation. There is no notice of peppermint preceding 1700, when it is mentioned by Plukenet and Tournefort as a wild plant only.
Mentha pulegium Linn. Pennyroyal.
Europe and neighboring Asia. The leaves of pennyroyal are sometimes used as a condiment. Mawe, in England, in 1778, calls it a fine aromatic; it was among American potherbs in 1806. It was in high repute among the ancients and had numerous virtues ascribed to it by both Dioscorides and Pliny. From the frequent references to it in Anglo-Saxon and Welsh works on medicine, we may infer that it was much esteemed in northern Europe. It has now fallen into disuse.
Mentha viridis Linn. Spearmint.
Europe, Asia and north Africa; naturalized in America. This garden herb was well known to the ancients and is mentioned in all early mediaeval lists of plants. Amatus Lusitanus, 1554, says it is always in gardens and later botanists confirm this statement for Europe. It was in American gardens in 1806 and probably far earlier, for it was collected by Clay ton in Virginia about 1739 as a naturalized plant.