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In botany, any strong-scented herb of the genus Mentha, composed of about 25 species of perennial herbs and certain related genera of the mint family (Lamiaceae, or Labiatae), which contains about 7,000 species of flowering plants in about 236 genera. Mints are important to humans as herb plants useful for their flavour, fragrance, and medicinal properties. True mints have square stems and oppositely arranged aromatic leaves. Small flowers, usually pale purple, pink, or white, are arranged in clusters, either forming separate whorls or crowded together in a terminal spike. All Mentha species contain volatile oil in resinous dots in the leaves and stems. Included in this genus are peppermint, spearmint, marjoram, rosemary, and thyme; other members of the mint family include lavender, hyssop, and catnip.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on mint, visit Britannica.com.