Spearmint, or Mentha spicata is a pleasant-smelling species of mint found in health-food products, toothpastes, mouthwashes, and cosmetics. It is often used in medicine for its claimed therapeutic properties. Spearmint contains vitamins, antioxidants, and vital nutrients. Its aroma is very similar to that of peppermint.
However I know pennyroyal, a potentially toxic member of the mint family, can also grow here. I would love to use my new found mints, but only if I know it is safe! The plants are about 9 inches tall right now, the stems are square and red/purple, and the leaves toothed, with a minty smell.
Spearmint and Peppermint Leaf and Plant Growth Another thing that separates spearmint and peppermint is the way the plants grow and the way the leaves look. Spearmint leaves tend to grow larger than peppermint leaves, and they typically have a lighter color.
Wild mints are fun because they are so varied: Some smell and taste of peppermint or spearmint, while others are spicy. One of my favorite wild varieties is wild spearmint, or Mentha spicata. The flavor is “rounder” and has less menthol than peppermint (Mentha piperita). Wild field mint, left, and mountain mint.