Mint, Water

Information on Water Mint

Common Name: Water Mint
Scientific Name: Mentha aquatica
Irish Name: Mismín mionsach
Family Group: Lamiaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period

Click for list of all flowering by month
Water Mint is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.

Also known as Mismín dearg, this is a stiff, hairy, upright perennial which has the familiar smell of mint.  It grows in damp ground and wet places where you'd normally wear wellies and it reaches up to about 90cm tall.  The globular heads of lilac-blue flowers (3-4mm long) are held in whorls along the square stems with two opposite leaves beneath each whorl, the stem bearing a terminal head of these flowers.  Each four-lobed flower has four protruding stamens.  The leaves are oval and toothed and the plant often is tinged reddish.  This plant, blooming from July to September, is much visited by butterflies such as the Small Tortoiseshell and the Peacock.  This is a native plant which belongs to the family Lamiaceae.  

My first record of this wildflower is in Derrynane, Co Kerry in 1977 and I photographed it on the Grand Canal at Vicarstown, Co Kildare in 2003. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Although Water Mint is considered a native plant in Ireland, it is believed that the genus Mentha was brought to us from Italy where it was used by the Romans to scent their baths and homes.  An important aromatic herb, in the eighteenth century it was used to alleviate inflammations of the digestive tracts and is now recommended by herbalists for headaches, indigestion and insomnia.  Some of our antispasmodic remedies (such as Colpermin) contain Oil of Peppermint and Mint Tea is commonly drunk as a 'calming down' beverage. However it was given other benefits by seventeenth century herbalist, Nicholas Culpeper, when he wrote that Mint 'stirs up venery or bodily lust' and the Greeks must have come to the same conclusion when they warned their soldiers to avoid it in case their increased love-making would lessen their courage in battle.  

Mint, Water
Mint, Water
Mint, Water
Mint, Water