The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Mentha × gracilis
Mentha × gracilis
Exotic Hybrid

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Mentha × gracilis Sole (pro sp.)

Common name: gingermint

Synonyms and Other Names: Mentha cardiaca, J. Gerard ex Baker, Mentha X muelleriana auct. non F.W. Schultz, Mentha gentilis auct. non L., Mentha X gentilis var. cardiac (J. Gerard ex Baker) B. Boivin (pro nm.), creeping whorled mint, redmint, Scotchmint, Scotch spearmint, golden apple mint, little-leaved mint

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: This herbaceous perennial herb has gold/green variegated leaves with serrated edges.  Plants reach a height of about 40 centimeters with a spread of 60 centimeters.  Leaves are highly aromatic. Lilac flowers are borne in whorled clusters along the axils and blooms in summer.  This species is fully hardy throughout the Great Lakes region. Growth form is more compact than most other mints found in the region. Plants resemble M. arvensis but differ in having smaller bracts toward the summit of the stem. Often, but not always, the calyx is glabrous. This is a hybrid derived from M. arvensis and M. spicata and is notoriously variable.

Size: 0.45 m - 0.6 m

Native Range: Eurasia.

Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Mentha × gracilis are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
CT200820081New England Region
DC200820081Mid Atlantic Region
IL1897200812Des Plaines; Embarras; Lower Illinois; Lower Illinois; Lower Illinois-Senachwine Lake; Lower Rock; Rock; South Fork Sangamon; Upper Illinois; Upper Mississippi Region; Upper Mississippi-Kaskaskia-Meramec; Upper Sangamon
IN200820081Ohio Region
ME200820081New England Region
MD200820081Mid Atlantic Region
MA188920081New England Region
MI189620083Great Lakes Region; Lake St. Clair; Ontonagon
MN200820083Minnesota; Root; Upper Mississippi-Crow-Rum
NE200820081Missouri Region
NH200820081New England
NJ200820081Mid-Atlantic Region
NY1913200818Bronx; Buffalo-Eighteenmile; Chemung; Conewango; Eastern Lake Erie; Hudson-Hoosic; Lake Ontario; Long Island; Lower Hudson; Middle Hudson; Oneida; Oswego; Schoharie; Seneca; Upper Delaware; Upper Hudson; Upper Susquehanna; Upper Susquehanna
OH200820086Black-Rocky; Lower Great Miami, Indiana, Ohio; Tuscarawas; Upper Great Miami, Indiana, Ohio; Upper Scioto; Western Lake Erie
PA1867200819Allegheny; Connoquenessing; Delaware; Lehigh; Lower Delaware; Lower Susquehanna; Lower Susquehanna; Lower West Branch Susquehanna; Mid Atlantic Region; Middle Allegheny-Tionesta; Middle Delaware-Mongaup-Brodhead; Middle West Branch Susquehanna; Schuylkill; Upper Delaware; Upper Ohio; Upper Susquehanna; Upper Susquehanna-Lackawanna; Upper Susquehanna-Tunkhannock; West Branch Susquehanna
RI200820081New England Region
WA200820081Pacific Northwest Region
WI2001200820Bad-Montreal; Beartrap-Nemadji; Black-Presque Isle; Buffalo-Whitewater; Castle Rock; Chippewa; Flambeau; Fox; Lower St. Croix; Lower Wisconsin; Manitowoc-Sheboygan; Pecatonica; St. Croix; Upper Fox; Upper Mississippi Region; Upper Mississippi-Black-Root; Upper Mississippi-Maquoketa-Plum; Upper Rock; Upper Wisconsin; Wisconsin

Table last updated 4/25/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

* HUCs are not listed for states where the observation(s) cannot be approximated to a HUC (e.g. state centroids or Canadian provinces).

Ecology: Mentha x gracilis is a horticultural hybrid cross between wildmint (M. arvensis) and invasive spearmint (M. spicata). Gingermint rarely sets seed (even more rarely viable seed), but more commonly spreads by thick creeping rhizomes with short runners.  It can be propagated by divisions, tubers, corms, bulbs or softwood cuttings (MISIN 2013). 

Gingermint requires moist soil. It thrives under a broad range of soil types including light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade and tolerates a broad pH range. It thrives in disturbed, moist ground, especially along shores of lakes, ponds, and streams. Gingermint is most commonly found as an invasive in sites near gardens and former gardens, reflecting its origin as a horticultural planting.

Means of Introduction: Deliberate release through planting.

Status: Established where recorded.

Impact of Introduction: May be a noxious weed.

Remarks: M. gracilis is a perennial herb that is a hybrid between wild mint (M. arvensis) and spearmint (M. spicata).  Other synonyms: Mentha cardiaca; Mentha gentilis.

References: (click for full references)

Britton, N.L., and Brown, A. 1913. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions Vol. 1-3. Second Edition. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.

Coleman, WM III, BM Lawrence and SH Craven. 2004. The use of a non-equilibrated solid phase microextraction method to quantitatively determine the off-notes in mint and other essential oils . Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 84:1223-1228. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/jsfa.1720.

Gray, A. 1867. Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States. Cambridge: Metcalfe and Company.

Gray, A. 1889. Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States. Sixth Edition. New York: American Book Co.

Green, R. J. 1961. Septoria leafspot disease of scotch spearmint. Plant Disease Reporter 45:696.

Michigan State University Board of Trustees. 2019. Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN). Michigan State University. Department of Entomology - Applied Spatial Ecology and Technical Services Laboratory, East Lansing, MI. http://www.misin.msu.edu.

Midwest Invasives Species Information Network (MISIN) and Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI). 2013. Gingermint (Mentha xgracilis). Available http://www.misin.msu.edu/facts/detail.php?id=96. Accessed 6 May 2013.

Mills, E.L., J.H. Leach, J.T. Carlton, and C.L. Secor. 1993. Exotic species in the Great Lakes: a history of biotic crises and anthropogenic introductions. Journal of Great Lakes Research 19(1):1-54.

Plants For A Future. Mentha x gracilis. 2008. http://www.pfaf.org/database/index.php

Poovaiah, C.R., S.C. Weller, and M.A. Jenks. 2006.  In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology. Plant, Vol. 42, No. 4.  pp. 354-358.  358. Published by: Society for In Vitro Biology.  http://www.jstor.org/stable/20461579.

Reznicek, AA, E.g., Voss, and B.S. Walters. 2011. Michigan Flora Online. University of Michigan Herbarium, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. http://michiganflora.net/home.aspx. Accessed on 01/01/2018.

Skotland, C. B. 1979. Rhizome rot of scotch spearmint Mentha cardica caused by a sclerotium forming basidiomycete. Phytopathology 69:920.

Skotland, C. B.; Traquair, J. A. 1982. A dormant rhizome rot of scotch spearmint Mentha cardiac, caused by Rhizoctonia solani. Phytopathology 72:994.

Tzanetakis, I.E. J.D. Postman, A. Samad and R.R. Martin. Mint. 2010. Mint Viruses: Beauty, Stealth and Disease. Plant Disease 94(1):4-12. https://apsjournals.apsnet.org/doi/pdf/10.1094/PDIS-94-1-0004.

USDA, NRCS. 2016. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC. http://plants.usda.gov. Accessed on 04/08/2016.

Wiegand, K.M., and Eames, A.J. 1925. The Flora of the Cayuga Lake Basin, New York: Vascular Plants. Volume Memoir 92. Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station.

Zenkert, C.A. 1934. The flora of the Niagra Frontier region. Ferns and flowering plants of Buffalo, N.Y., and vicinity. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences 16(i-x):1-328.

Zheljazkov, V.D. C.L. Cantrell, T. Astatkie and A Hristov.  2010.  Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Other Resources:

Author: Cao, L, and L. Berent

Revision Date: 7/30/2019

Citation Information:
Cao, L, and L. Berent, 2024, Mentha × gracilis Sole (pro sp.): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=2698, Revision Date: 7/30/2019, Access Date: 4/25/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [4/25/2024].

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