Two Major Characteristics of the Mint Family are opposite leaves and square stems. The leaves emerge from the stem with each leaf pair at right angles to the previous leaves. Flowers are composed of 5 united petals and 5 united sepals. Flowers appear in verticillastrate clusters often in the upper leaf axils.

Family Characteristics



Common Horehound

Common Horehound, Marrubium vulgare, growing along an old roadside near Grape Creek Parking Lot, elevation 5,400 Feet, June 1, 2007. Grape Creek is a tributary of the Arkansas River near Pueblo, Colorado. Height is 55 cm. , leaves basal and stem, flowers in leaf axils, stems stout, leaf length 30 mm, width 20 mm. Flower width is 2.5 mm, 30-40 per inflorescence. Some characteristics of marrubium: four stamens with anthers present, stems densely white wooly, ten hooked calyx teeth present.



Field Mint



Mentha arvensis, Field Mint, growing in a riparian area near phantom creek, elevation 8,600 feet, July 10, 2006. Some characteristics of Mentha: four stamens, anthers in two parallel sacks. Leaves serrate. Flowers in dense clusters in leaf axils or in terminal spikes. Corolla close to regular but really two lipped.



Monarda fistulosa, Bergamot, growing along the Waldo Canyon Trail west of Colorado Springs, Colorado, August 11, 2004. Genera characteristics: two stamens with anthers, anther sacs not parallel, corolla strongly irregular, numerous flowers in terminal or axial racemes, calyx tubular with 13 to 15 veins.




Neptha cateria, Catnip, growing on a moist granite slope along the Waldo Canyon Trail, west of Colorado Springs, August 11, 2004. Genera characteristics: 4 stamens, anthers not parallel, calyx with 5 teeth, flowers white often with purple spots.


Common Selfheal

Prunella vulgaris, growing in Alamo Canyon, Jemez Mountains, elevation 6,800 feet. Characteristics of Prunella: 4 stamens with anthers, calyx teeth 5 or less, bracts present below flowers, anther sacs not parallel. Flowers tend to be violet or purple.


Death Valley Sage

Death Valley Sage, Salvia funerea, sandy sediment bench in Mosaic Canyon, Death Valley, 1,520 Feet, March 15, 2007, Silvery green leaves, shiny with reflected light, plant height about 36 inches, flowers purple, very irregular, sparse, leaves opposite or fasicled, flowers in leaf axils, ovary apparently inferior, leaf length 15 mm, width 7 mm, petiole 6 mm. Flower width 5 mm. Some characteristics of the genera: 2 stamens with anthers, long connective between anther sacs, flowers in terminal spikelike racemes.


Resinous Skullcap

Resinous Skullcap, Scutellaria resinosa, growing on the bank of a small arroyo. Garden of the Gods, elevation 6,500 Feet, May 30, 2003. Growing about a foot below the bottom of a small wash. Leaves are likely basal and stem. Stem leaves are opposite. Stems have a square cross section. Flowers in pairs from leaf axils. Leaf length 27 mm, width 11 mm, flower width 13 mm, length 26 mm. Some characteristics of the genera: flowers blue, 4 stamens with anthers, calyx teeth 5 or less, upper calyx with distinct crest.