COMMON CALAMINT

Clinopodium ascendens

Mint / Dead-Nettle Family [Lamiaceae]

month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8bicolour flower8multicolour
 
flower
flower8lilac flower8pink
 
flower
flower8white
 
inner
inner8purple
 
morph
morph8zygo
 
petals
petalsZ2
 
type
typeZtieredwhorls
 
stem
stem8square
 
smell
smell8minty
minty

15th Aug 2016, roadside, Great Orme, Llandudno, Wales. Photo: © RWD
Between 30 to 60cm high preferring alkaline soils.


15th Aug 2016, roadside, Great Orme, Llandudno, Wales. Photo: © RWD
A scarcely-branched plant with flowers on short stalks in whorls up the stem.


15th Aug 2016, roadside, Great Orme, Llandudno, Wales. Photo: © RWD
Corolla (pink part of flower) 10-16mm long


15th Aug 2016, roadside, Great Orme, Llandudno, Wales. Photo: © RWD
Upper lip of corolla is flattish and has a notch at the top.


15th Aug 2016, roadside, Great Orme, Llandudno, Wales. Photo: © RWD
Commonly attributed to just having 2 petals - the lower lip of corolla is 3-lobed, the lowest lobe is also sometimes notched.


15th Aug 2016, roadside, Great Orme, Llandudno, Wales. Photo: © RWD
Flowers pale pink to white with darker purple spots. There are 4 stamens and one style which is tipped by 2 unequal stigmas (all lurking just under the top lip).


15th Aug 2016, roadside, Great Orme, Llandudno, Wales. Photo: © RWD
Calyx (sepal tube) 5-8mm long, is often deep purple and has 5 teeth, the lower 2 longer (2 - 3.5mm) and narrower narrower and have long (0.2mm) hairs on the margin. The upper 3 teeth are shorter.


15th Aug 2016, roadside, Great Orme, Llandudno, Wales. Photo: © RWD
The hairs within the calyx tube do not generally protrude from the tube. An as-yet unopened flower bulges slightly from a calyx tube.


15th Aug 2016, roadside, Great Orme, Llandudno, Wales. Photo: © RWD
A hairy plant, with hairs tending downwards. Main stem is square. The green stem also has a tendency to turn deep purple; the leaves may follow suit in hot dry conditions with blazing sunshine.


15th Aug 2016, roadside, Great Orme, Llandudno, Wales. Photo: © RWD


15th Aug 2016, roadside, Great Orme, Llandudno, Wales. Photo: © RWD
Leaves 1.5 to 4cm long but broad and tapering to a blunt tip. Stalked. Veins curved.


15th Aug 2016, roadside, Great Orme, Llandudno, Wales. Photo: © RWD
Mid-rib of leaf may also turn deep purple. This leaf has unusually got silver spots. Leaves have between 3 to 8 inconspicuous teeth each side.


Many similarities to : Lesser Calamint (Clinopodium calamintha) but that is greyer with paler lilac-coloured flowers and the lower sepal teeth are shorter than the lower ones on Common Calamint and they either lack hairs or the hairs are shorter. Wood Calamint (Clinopodium menthifoilim) is much rarer than the rare Lesser Calamint and has both larger leaves and flowers (the leaves also having more teeth - 6-10 on each side as opposed to 3-8 for Common Calamint) and the flowers are a darker shade of pink than those of Common Calamint. No relation to : Calamine - a lotion composed of a mixture of zinc oxide, and either ferric oxide or zinc carbonate which is used as an anti-pruritic (preventing itching) to treat sunburn, rashes, insect bites, etc.

The leaves, when crushed, smell of mint, another helpful guide to identification. It grows in dry rough scrubby grassy places, bushy areas, hedgebanks, verges, preferring limy or chalky areas but also grows on sandy soils. Not found North of Whitby. Scarce south of there but more frequent but still scattered in Norfolk, Kent, Devon and Cornwall and a few other locations.


  Clinopodium ascendens  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Lamiaceae  

Distribution
 family8Mint / Dead-Nettle family8Lamiaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Clinopodium
Clinopodium
(Calamints)

COMMON CALAMINT

Clinopodium ascendens

Mint / Dead-Nettle Family [Lamiaceae]