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common name: Water mint
synonyms: Mentha hirsuta
purple & green
full sun, part shade
moist soil, wet/waterlogged soil, clay soil
preferred soil pH: any
minimum temp: -20°C
USDA zone: 6 to 10
A vigorous marginal aquatic that will also thrive in damp soil. Strongly aromatic, dark green leaves. Reddish-purple stems and dense clusters of lilac flowers in summer.
Will grow in any damp soil, including heavy clay, and in water. It thrives in full sun but will also grow happily in partial shade. Easily established as a pond marginal or by river banks. However it can become invasive.
Division of rooted stems is easy. Also from seed.
Sometimes used as a food flavouring, although it is very pungent. Can be prepared as a tea, using either fresh or dried leaves. Has medicinal value for treating digestive problems, sore throats and mouth ulcers.
Very attractive to bees and butterflies.
When growing in water it has a purifying effect and is good in reed-bed sewage treatment ponds.
Widely distributed throughout Asia and Europe including Britain.