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Common Calamint

Clinopodium ascendens

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Lamiaceae (Dead-nettle)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Grassland, hedgerows, meadows, roadsides, rocky places, scrub, waterside.

Purple, 2 petals
Pale violet flowers with purple spots. The lower lip is 3-lobed. The middle of the 3 lobes is occasionally notched. Flowers are 10 to 16mm in size. 4 stamens. 2 stamens of unequal size.
The fruit is a nutlet.
An erect, scarcely branched perennial. The oval, bluntly pointed leaves are short-stalked and in opposite pairs up the stem. Leaves measure up to 4cm long. The leaves have curved veins. The hairy stems are green and square in cross-section, although the stems are sometimes tinged purple.
Smells of mint when crushed.
Other Names:
Ascending Basil, Ascending Wild Basil, Small Basil.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Clinopodium ascendens, also known as ascending basil or small basil, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family. It is native to the eastern United States and is commonly found in moist, wooded areas. The plant is known for its small, white or pink flowers and hairy leaves. It grows well in moist, well-drained soil and is often found along streams and in damp meadows. Clinopodium ascendens is a low-growing plant that forms a mat-like shape and can spread to form large clumps. It is commonly cultivated as an ornamental plant and is valued for its attractive flowers and ability to thrive in moist conditions. The plant is also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.


Common Calamint (Clinopodium ascendens) is a species of plant that belongs to the mint family (Lamiaceae). This plant is native to Europe, Africa, and Asia, but has been introduced to other parts of the world, such as North America. It is commonly found growing in areas such as rocky outcroppings, grasslands, and along roadsides.

Common Calamint is a low-growing, herbaceous perennial plant that can reach a height of up to 60 cm. Its leaves are oval or elliptical in shape, with a hairy texture, and a strong aroma when crushed. The plant produces spikes of small, tubular flowers that are typically pink or purple in color, which bloom from July to September.

One of the most notable characteristics of Common Calamint is its strong, aromatic scent, which is a result of the presence of volatile oils in the plant. This scent is often described as being similar to that of mint, hence its common name. The plant's leaves and flowers have been used for centuries in various cultures as a flavoring in cooking, as well as for their medicinal properties.

Common Calamint has been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive problems, respiratory issues, and skin irritations. The plant's volatile oils are believed to have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving properties, making it a useful remedy for various conditions.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Common Calamint is also an attractive plant that is commonly used in gardens and landscaping. The plant is easy to care for and does well in full sun to partial shade, and well-drained soil. It is also drought-tolerant and can be grown in areas with low rainfall.

Common Calamint (Clinopodium ascendens) is a versatile plant that has a long history of use in traditional medicine and cooking. Its strong, aromatic scent and attractive appearance make it a popular addition to gardens and landscaping. Whether used for its medicinal properties or simply for its beauty, Common Calamint is definitely worth considering for any gardener or herbalist.

Common Calamint is also a popular plant for attracting pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and moths to the garden. The plant's bright, tubular flowers are a great source of nectar for these important insects, and can help to support a healthy ecosystem in the garden.

In terms of propagation, Common Calamint is easy to grow from seeds or cuttings. To propagate from seed, simply plant the seeds in well-drained soil in a sunny location and keep the soil moist. Cuttings can be taken from the plant in the spring or summer and rooted in water or a rooting hormone.

It's also important to note that Common Calamint is a hardy plant that is resistant to most pests and diseases. However, it can be susceptible to powdery mildew, which is a fungal disease that can cause the leaves to become covered in a white, powdery substance. This can be prevented by planting the plant in a location with good air circulation and avoiding overhead watering.

Overall, Common Calamint is a versatile and attractive plant that is well worth considering for your garden or landscaping. Whether used for its medicinal properties, its ability to attract pollinators, or simply for its beauty, Common Calamint is a great addition to any garden.

Aside from its ornamental and medicinal uses, Common Calamint is also a valuable plant for wildlife. Birds and small mammals, such as rabbits and squirrels, often feed on the seeds and leaves of the plant. In addition, the plant provides a valuable source of nectar for butterflies, bees, and other pollinators, making it an important plant for maintaining a healthy and diverse ecosystem in the garden.

In terms of landscaping, Common Calamint is a great choice for rock gardens, borders, and as a ground cover. Its low-growing habit makes it ideal for planting in areas that need to be filled in or covered, and its ability to spread quickly makes it an effective solution for erosion control. Additionally, its drought-tolerance and hardiness make it a great choice for low-maintenance gardens.

Common Calamint is a versatile and valuable plant that has a lot to offer in terms of ornamental, medicinal, and wildlife benefits. Whether you are looking for a plant for your garden, landscaping, or as a source of food and habitat for wildlife, Common Calamint is definitely worth considering. Its hardiness, versatility, and attractive appearance make it a great choice for any gardener or nature enthusiast.

Common Calamint is also a valuable plant for herbal medicine and aromatherapy. The volatile oils present in the plant have a strong, refreshing scent that is often used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve mental clarity. In addition, the plant's leaves and flowers can be dried and used as a tea or infusion to treat digestive issues, respiratory problems, and skin irritations.

In traditional medicine, Common Calamint has been used to treat a variety of ailments for centuries. In Europe, for example, it was used as a remedy for digestive problems and to relieve the symptoms of colds and flu. In Africa, the plant was used to treat skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis. Today, Common Calamint is still used in many traditional medicine systems, and is considered to be a safe and effective remedy for a range of conditions.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that Common Calamint is an important plant for botanical research and study. Its unique combination of ornamental, medicinal, and wildlife benefits make it a valuable subject for study in fields such as botany, horticulture, and traditional medicine. As such, it is an important plant for conserving and promoting the understanding of our natural world and its many benefits to humans and the environment.

In conclusion, Common Calamint is a valuable and versatile plant that offers a range of benefits for gardens, wildlife, herbal medicine, and botanical research. Whether used for its attractive appearance, its strong, refreshing scent, or its medicinal properties, Common Calamint is definitely worth considering for any gardener, herbalist, or nature enthusiast.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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