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Lesser Calamint

Clinopodium calamintha

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Lamiaceae (Dead-nettle)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Fields, grassland, meadows, roadsides, wasteland, waterside.

Pink, 2 petals
Lax clusters of pale lilac or whitish, tubular flowers with darker spots. The flowers are less spotted than those of the similar looking Common Calamint (Clinopodium ascendens). Flowers measure up to 1cm across. Pollinated mainly by bees.
The fruit is a nutlet. The seeds ripen in September and October.
A short lived, bushy perennial similar to Common Calamint but with greyer foliage and smaller leaves. The oval, greyish-green leaves measure up to 2cm in size. The leaves are in opposite pairs up the stem. The stem is upright and square in cross-section.
The foliage is aromatic.
Other Names:
Calamint, Dog Mint.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Clinopodium calamintha, also known as lesser calamint or calamint, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family. It is native to Europe and is widely distributed in other parts of the world. 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 calamintha 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.


Lesser Calamint (Clinopodium calamintha) is a herbaceous perennial plant that belongs to the mint family (Lamiaceae). It is also known by several other names such as Calamint, Basil Thyme, and Wild Basil. This plant is native to Europe and the Mediterranean region, but has been introduced to many other parts of the world, including North America.

Lesser Calamint grows up to 60 cm in height and produces small, white or pinkish-purple flowers that bloom from July to September. The leaves are fragrant and have a minty scent when crushed. The plant prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade.

This plant has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It was traditionally used to treat digestive problems, respiratory issues, and skin conditions. In modern times, research has shown that Lesser Calamint has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, making it a potential treatment for various health conditions.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Lesser Calamint is also a popular ornamental plant. Its attractive flowers and fragrant leaves make it a great addition to herb gardens and wildflower meadows. This plant is also a great choice for pollinators, as it provides food and habitat for bees, butterflies, and other insects.

Growing Lesser Calamint is easy and requires little maintenance. The plant is highly adaptable and can tolerate a range of growing conditions, from dry soils to moist soils. However, it is important to avoid over-watering and to provide good drainage to prevent root rot.

Lesser Calamint is a versatile and attractive plant that is great for gardens, wildflower meadows, and for use in traditional medicine. Its fragrant leaves and attractive flowers make it a great addition to any landscape, while its potential health benefits make it a valuable plant to grow and study.

Another interesting aspect of Lesser Calamint is its culinary uses. The leaves of the plant can be used fresh or dried in various dishes, lending their minty flavor to soups, stews, sauces, and salads. It is also used to flavor teas and other beverages, and can be used as a substitute for basil in many recipes.

In some cultures, Lesser Calamint is believed to have spiritual and magical properties. It was used in ancient times to ward off evil spirits, protect against disease, and to promote good health and well-being. Today, the plant is still used in some traditional medicines, and is often planted near homes and in gardens for its believed protective properties.

It is important to note that while Lesser Calamint is generally considered safe when used in small quantities, it can be toxic if consumed in large amounts. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as people with liver or kidney problems, should consult with a healthcare provider before using this plant for medicinal purposes.

Overall, Lesser Calamint is a fascinating and versatile plant that has many uses and benefits. Whether you are interested in its ornamental, medicinal, or culinary uses, it is sure to be a great addition to your garden or landscape.

Lesser Calamint can be propagated in a number of ways, including seeds, cuttings, and division. The best time to sow seeds is in the spring, after the last frost, or in the autumn, about 6-8 weeks before the first frost. Simply scatter the seeds on the surface of a well-drained soil and press them down lightly. Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged, and you should see sprouts in about two weeks.

Cutting is another effective method of propagation. Simply take stem cuttings from the plant in the summer or early autumn, remove the lower leaves, and plant them in a well-drained soil mix. Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged, and in a few weeks, you should see roots developing. Once the roots are established, you can transplant the cuttings into your garden or a larger pot.

Finally, Lesser Calamint can also be propagated by division. Simply dig up the plant, divide it into smaller sections, and replant each section in a well-drained soil. This method is best done in the spring or autumn, when the plant is not actively growing.

Whether you propagate by seed, cutting, or division, Lesser Calamint is an easy plant to care for and will reward you with its attractive flowers and fragrant leaves for many years to come. With its many benefits and uses, it is a plant that is well worth growing!

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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