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Spear Mint Leaves  - Mentha Spicata Linn

Spear Mint Leaves   ( Mentha Spicata Linn )

Description
It is a herbaceous rhizomatous perennial plant growing 30–100 cm tall, with variably hairless to hairy stems and foliage, and a wide-spreading fleshy underground rhizome. The leaves are 5–9 cm long and 1.5–3 cm broad, with a serrated margin. The stem is square-shaped, a trademark of the mint family of herbs. Spearmint produces flowers in slender spikes, each flower pink or white, 2.5–3 mm long and broad.

Hybrids involving spearmint include Mentha × piperita (Peppermint; hybrid with Mentha aquatica), Mentha × gracilis (Ginger Mint, syn. M. cardiaca; hybrid with Mentha arvensis), and Mentha × villosa (Large Apple Mint, hybrid with Mentha suaveolens).

The name 'spear' mint derives from the pointed leaf tips.

Uses
Spearmint leaves can be used fresh, dried, or frozen. They can also be preserved in salt, sugar, sugar syrup, alcohol, or oil. The leaves lose their aromatic appeal after the plant flowers. It can be dried by cutting just before, or right (at peak) as the flowers open, about 1/2 to 3/4 the way down the stalk (leaving smaller shoots room to grow). There is some dispute as to what drying method works best; some prefer different materials (such as plastic or cloth) and different lighting conditions (such as darkness or sunlight).


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