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Mint, 1998 Herb of the Year.
Mint (Mentha x piperita L., Lamiaceae) is the International Herb Association's choice for 1998 Herb of the Year. Easily grown in some variety in every region of North America, mint was selected for its adaptability, fragrance, flavor, and use in maintaining health. Mint has long been popular worldwide for its distinctive flavor, essential oil, and as a valuable garden decorative.

Mints grow both cultivated and wild throughout the world, with over 600 named species. Mints vary in size from the very tiny, bright green Corsican Mint (M. requienii), through the tall, fuzzy, gray-leafed Apple Mint (M. suaveolens). Leaf color varies from deep green, to reddish purple, and even silver. Mint is mentioned in the Bible (Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42), and in mythology, the nymph Mintho -- beloved by Pluto -- was transformed into a mint plant by Pluto's jealous wife, Proserpine. As a plant, Mintho lost the beauty of a nymph, but continued to attract men by her freshness and lovely scent.

Mint will be spotlighted during the International Herb Association's National Herb Week, May 4-10. National Herb Week is an opportunity to introduce others to the many joys of mints, and to provide educational information about the propagation, history, culture, and use of herbs in everyday living. IHA encourages member businesses and other organizations, garden and herb clubs, nurseries, garden shops, and children's groups to join in celebrating herbs throughout this week.

Article copyright American Botanical Council.


By Dawnelle Malone