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Water Mint

Mentha aquatica

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Lamiaceae (Dead-nettle)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
90 centimetres tall
Bogs, ditches, fens, marshes, meadows, ponds, riversides, waterside.

Purple, 4 petals
Lilac with hairy sepals and stalks. Flowers in a round head at the top of the stem, often with extra flowers in whorls at the bases of the upper leaves.
A 4-parted, yellowish-brown seed (schizocarp).
The stalked leaves are in opposite pairs. The leaf veins are prominent and the margins are toothed. This plant is said to repel flies.
The leaves and flowers have a very strong and pleasant smell of mint.
Other Names:
Marsh Mint.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Mentha aquatica, also known as "water mint," is a perennial herb that is native to Europe, Asia and North Africa. It grows in wet areas such as marshes, ditches, and along the edges of streams and ponds. This mint is commonly used in culinary and medicinal applications. It has a unique aroma and is known for its hairy leaves and stem. The leaves can be used fresh or dried to flavor salads, sauces, and meat dishes. The oil of the leaves and stem is also used in perfumes, soaps and other cosmetics. It can be propagated by stem cuttings or division of the roots.


Water Mint (Mentha aquatica) is a perennial herbaceous plant that belongs to the mint family (Lamiaceae). As the name suggests, it is found growing in damp or wet habitats such as marshes, riverbanks, and wetlands. This plant is native to Europe and Asia, but it has been introduced to North America, where it has become naturalized.


Water Mint grows up to 3 feet tall and has a square stem that is green to reddish in color. The leaves are oval to lance-shaped, with toothed edges, and they grow opposite each other on the stem. The flowers are pink to lilac in color and grow in dense clusters at the top of the stem. The flowers bloom from July to September and attract bees and other pollinators.


Water Mint has a long history of medicinal use. The leaves and stems contain essential oils that have antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties. The essential oil of Water Mint is used in aromatherapy to relieve stress, anxiety, and fatigue. The leaves and stems can be used to make tea, which is said to have a calming effect on the digestive system and can help relieve symptoms of indigestion, bloating, and nausea.

Water Mint is also used as a flavoring agent in food and beverages. The leaves can be used fresh or dried to add a minty flavor to salads, sauces, and desserts. The essential oil is used to flavor chewing gum, candy, and toothpaste.

In addition to its medicinal and culinary uses, Water Mint is also a valuable plant for wildlife. It provides habitat and food for a variety of insects, including bees, butterflies, and moths. The leaves are a favorite food of the larvae of the mint moth (Pyrausta aurata).


Water Mint is a hardy plant that is easy to grow in damp or wet soil. It prefers full sun to partial shade and can tolerate a range of soil types. It can be propagated by division or from seeds, and it will readily self-seed in favorable conditions.

However, it is important to note that Water Mint can be invasive in some areas, especially in wetland habitats. If you are considering growing Water Mint, it is best to plant it in a container or in a designated area where it can be contained.

Water Mint is a versatile and useful plant that has a long history of medicinal, culinary, and ecological importance. Its minty flavor and aroma make it a popular ingredient in food and beverages, and its essential oil is widely used in aromatherapy. Additionally, it provides important habitat and food for wildlife. However, it is important to be mindful of its potential invasiveness and to take steps to prevent it from spreading to sensitive ecosystems.

Additional Information

Water Mint is a highly adaptable plant that can survive in a variety of conditions, including polluted waterways. Due to its ability to absorb and filter pollutants, it is often used in phytoremediation projects to help clean up contaminated soil and water.

In traditional medicine, Water Mint has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including headaches, colds, and respiratory infections. It has also been used topically to relieve itching and soothe skin irritations.

The essential oil of Water Mint has been studied extensively for its potential health benefits. It has been shown to have antibacterial and antifungal properties and may be effective in treating fungal infections such as athlete's foot and nail fungus. It may also have antioxidant properties, which can help protect the body against cellular damage caused by free radicals.

Water Mint is also a popular choice for landscaping and gardening projects. It is a low-maintenance plant that can be used to add color and fragrance to wetland areas, ponds, and other water features. It is also a popular choice for attracting pollinators to gardens.

Facts about Water Mint

Water Mint, also known by its scientific name Mentha aquatica, is a species of flowering plant that belongs to the mint family. Here are some facts about Water Mint:

  1. Water Mint is a perennial plant that grows up to 100 cm in height.

  2. It is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, and has been introduced to North America and South America.

  3. Water Mint is commonly found in wetlands, marshes, ditches, and along riverbanks.

  4. The leaves of Water Mint are dark green and oval-shaped with a toothed margin.

  5. The flowers are pink or lilac and grow in whorls on spikes.

  6. Water Mint is an important source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.

  7. Water Mint has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It is believed to have a calming effect on the digestive system and can be used to treat nausea, indigestion, and flatulence.

  8. The essential oil extracted from Water Mint is used in the production of perfumes, soaps, and other cosmetic products.

  9. Water Mint can be used as a culinary herb and is often used to flavor drinks and desserts.

In summary, Water Mint is a perennial plant that grows in wetlands and along riverbanks. Its leaves are dark green and oval-shaped, and its flowers are pink or lilac. It has a variety of uses, including medicinal, culinary, and cosmetic. It is an important source of nectar for pollinators and is widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa.


Water Mint filmed in Chorley, Lancashire on the 3rd September 2022.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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