THE MINT PLANT 4
Themint plant is known as the Metha, a word drawn from the Greek wordMitha. The physical location of the whole genus of the plant iswidely distributed in many continents, but the plant originatedacross Asia, Africa, Europe and North America (Grieve,2014). The mint plant is cultivated andthrives well in moist and shady areas as well as in lakes and rivers.However, the mint plant can tolerate diverse types of environmentsand weather, which makes it distribution even across many continents(Harley et al, 2004).
Theplant belongs to the mint family referred to as the family Lamiaceaeand has a number of species but the Spearmint and the Pennyroyal arethe most common. However, the common species are biologicallyreferred to as the peppermint, the Mentha × Piperita and the Spicata(Organic Life, 2011).The various species in the mint genus have a large number of hybrids(Grieve, 2014).These varieties have several synonyms and varieties that share thesame features or slightly different characteristics (OrganicLife, 2011). The common garden mintgrows freely in many gardens but originated from the Mediterraneanregion. From this region, it is believed that the garden mint wasspread by the Romans and the British to other nations
Themost conscious physical characteristic of the mint plant is itsaromatic scent of their leaves. The plant has simple leaves that arearranged in opposite pairs with a serrated margin and often downy(Harley et al, 2004).The color of the leaves is determined by the specie, but it commonlyranges from gray green to dark green, blue and in few species darkyellow. The plant has white or purple flowers which develop intonut-let fruits that have between one to four seeds (Grieve,2014). The mint grows quickly and inmost cases forms a network of runners that may become invasive inhome gardens. The harvesting of the mint plant is done at any time ofits lifetime as the leaves can be stored and used later.
Theuse of the mint plant ranges from foods safety use to culinary uses.The plant is used to make flavorings and natural seasoning that areused for food purposes. The mint is also used as a source ofessential oils and natural extracts (Ortiz,1992). According to Harleyet al (2004), the leaves of the plant are used as the culinary sourceof the mint. The warms, sweet, aromatic and warm effect makes themint a unique plant that has a cool aftertaste (Ortiz,1992). The plant is used to give theseamazing features in warm, hot and cold drinks (OrganicLife, 2011). The same features areneeded in the preparation of some products such as syrups, candiesand ice creams to improve their taste and commercial value. Somecommunities also use the mint plant in their alcoholic beverages aswell as liquor to produce the mint-flavor in the drinks.
Varioustypes of the mint have economic value that is based on the featurethat the plant has and the use of these unique features. The Englishoil from the mint plant is highly priced compared to all otherproducts of the mint (Grieve, 2014).The French oil also forms another class of the products that make themint economically viable. The use of the mint to make industrialproducts like sweets and syrup gives the plant a significant economicuse. While the plant is valuable to human beings, its quantities arereduced due to the changing climatic conditions.
Grieve,M. (2014). Mints,Retrieved From,<https://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mints-39.html>April 23, 2015
Harley,R.M., Atkins, S., Budantsev, Andrey, L., Cantino, P.D. (2004)."Labiatae". In Kubitzki, Klaus Kadereit, Joachim W. TheFamilies and Genera of Vascular PlantsVII.Berlin Heidelberg, Germany: Springer-Verlag.
OrganicLife, 2011. Mint:A growing Guide. RetrievedFrom, <http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/mint-growing-guide>April 23, 2015
Ortiz,E. (1992). TheEncyclopedia of Herbs, Spices & Flavorings.London: Dorling Kindersley.