LESSER CALAMINT(*)

Clinopodium nepeta

Clinopodium nepeta (synonym Calamintha nepeta), known as lesser calamint, is a perennial herb of the mint family.

A perennial shrub with shiny, green oregano-like leaves. Its flowers are lavender pink. The plant reaches a height of 18″ and smells like a cross between mint and oregano. It attracts honeybees and butterflies.  Lesser calamint usually grows in the summer, and well into the fall. It can become dormant in the winter months, then re-blossom in spring. In fall, the flowers fall to the ground and will self-seed. Seedlings will flower in late August. It often grows wild, but can also be kept in pots.

Lesser calamint is commonly used as an herb in Italian cuisine, where it is called “mentuccia”, “nipitella” or “nepitella,” a basil thyme. In southern Italy, it is used in the making of a goat cheese called “cassiedu”, giving the cheese a minty taste.  The whole plant is aromatic, diaphoretic, expectorant, febrifuge and stomachic.  An infusion is beneficial in cases of flatulent colic and weaknesses of the stomach. It is also used to treat depression, insomnia and painful menstruation.
It can be used to treat flatulence (‘gas‘or ‘wind‘), painful periods, depression, insomnia, as an expectorant for non-productive coughs, to reduce fevers and induce sweating. In short, a cure all!

SPECS: Native Name: XXXX; Genus: Clinopodium ; Species: Nepeta ; Plant Type: Herb, Shrub; Life Cycle: Perennial; Sun Exposure: Full Sun; Soil Moisture: Mesic (middle), Medium Dry; Height: 2′ — 3′; Spread: 3′; Plant Spacing: 1′ — 2′; Bloom Time: July — September; Bloom Color: Lavender, Pink; Advantages: Medicinal uses; USDA Zone: 3 — 10; Attracts: Beneficial insects, Bumblebees, Butterflies, Honey bees, Long-tongued bees, Sweat bees; Tolerant: Deer, Drought; Plant Community: Goes well with Purple COneflower, Magnus Echinacea, Black-eyed Susans, Becky Shasta Daisy, Little Trudy Nepeta and, of course, garden herbs.;