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Electronic Flora of South Australia species Fact Sheet

Family: Labiatae
Mentha pulegium

Citation: L., Sp. Pl. 577 (1753).

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: Pennyroyal.

Description:
Perennial herbs with a creeping rhizome usually above the ground rooting at the nodes, producing quadrangular branches, ascending to decumbent to 40 cm long, more or less densely covered with simple hairs recurved on basal parts and spreading on the inflorescence; leaves with the petiole 1-6 mm long; blade obovate, elliptic to almost orbicular at times, 0.6-3 x 0.4-2 cm, obtuse or rounded, abruptly constricted into a cuneate base and petiole, entire or with small blunt serrations, usually with 2 or 3 pairs of secondary veins, more or less hairy and with sessile glands on the undersurface.

Inflorescence a thyrse without a distinct peduncle, with sessile cymose part-inflorescences with many pedicelled flowers in dense clusters each subtended by a leaf-like bract and flowering nodes always separated by an elongated internode; sepals almost regularly connate to about two-thirds of their length, 10-veined, 2-3 mm long, with 2 anterior ones slightly more pointed, densely covered with spreading hairs and sessile glands on the outside and with a ring of hairs on the inside of the throat; corolla usually pale-mauve to lilac, scarcely 2- lipped, with a posterior lip entire and about as large as the 2 lateral lobes which are usually slightly shorter than the central lobe of the anterior lip, with few spreading hairs and sessile glands on the outside and almost glabrous inside; stamens inserted in the throat; with filaments glabrous, curved to posterior; anthers 2-celled, exserted; ovary on a thick disk, 4-lobed, with a slender style inserted near the base, with a shortly 2-fid stigma.

image of FSA3_Mentha_pul.jpg Flowering branch and leaf.
Image source: fig. 554F in Jessop J.P. & Toelken H.R. (Ed.) 1986. Flora of South Australia (4th edn).

Published illustration: Cunningham et al. (1982) Plants of western New South Wales, p. 574; Ross-Craig (1967) Drawings Brit. Pl. 24:pl. 7.

Distribution:  S.Aust.: EP, NL, MU, SL, KI, SE.   W.Aust.; N.S.W.; Vic.; Tas.   New Zealand. Native to western and central Europe, throughout the Mediterranean and extending into Iran.

Conservation status: naturalised

Flowering time: Jan. — April, but some flowers are found throughout the year.


SA Distribution Map based
on current data relating to
specimens held in the
State Herbarium of South Australia

Biology: Plants from drier areas are not only much smaller but also appear much more hairy. Occasionally also the leaves appear to be narrowly elliptic but these are usually the first leaves of fascicled axillary branches after the primary leaves along the stems have dried and/or disappeared.

Author: Not yet available


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