What is the difference between spearmint and pennyroyal?

Mint is one aromatic plant spread all over the world and more than are known 600 different varieties. In order not to get confused, here we will look at the difference between spearmint and pennyroyaltwo distant but similar varieties, both highly appreciated especially in the kitchen.

Characteristics of mint or catmint

Mentuccia, as they call it in Lazio, or catmint, is a variety of mint with small, oval leaves, which grows spontaneous above all in Mediterranean areas. Growing to 40cm, it is a perennial plant and does not need much attention.

Its scientific name is Calamintha Nepeta, from the Greek kalos, meaning beautiful, graceful and as ifand therefore stands for ‘graceful mint’.

It is an aromatic herb balsamic properties and medicines. In ancient times the shepherds in the mountains used to tear off two leaves, rub them and put them in the nostrils to cure cold.

It is also an ingredient in traditional recipes such as i mushrooms and often accompanies porcini mushrooms for a very specific reason. When this custom was born, in fact, it was believed that catmint had catalytic properties and, that is, it was able to decrease the flow of toxins and heavy metals present in the soil and probably absorbed by the mushrooms. Adding catmint to the dish ensured a balancing and limiting function of any toxicity.

roman mint

Spearmint, scientific name Mentha Pulegiumfrom which mint pulleythere is a particularly fresh, intense and decisive aroma. It grows in all Mediterranean countries, has small, lanceolate or linear leaves, and covered with small glandular hairs, responsible for the production of the essence.

Is considered among the best mints to use in the kitchen just for the intense and tasty flavour that goes well with meat and vegetable dishes. It is the favorite aromatic in Rome to flavor the typical Roman tripe and lamb, but not to be confused with mint, used instead in the preparation of artichokes alla Romana.

Is there a difference between spearmint and pennyroyal?

While similar, there is an obvious one difference between spearmint and pennyroyal. They are also similar in uses, but very different in appearance and scent.

They both have leaves with a reduced size, one more lanceolate, the other more rounded. Spearmint does fiori rounded, while the mint has vertical tubular inflorescences. Spearmint also has a perfume more decisive that will make it immediately recognizable.

Characteristic trait of roman mintand which does not instead belong to the mint, is the potential toxicity. In fact, if extracted and ingested, pulegio oil is highly toxic even in small doses. Studies demonstrate its danger to both humans and animals.

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