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Calamintha nepeta

Clinopodium nepeta

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Lamiids
Ordo: Lamiales

Familia: Lamiaceae
Subfamilia: Nepetoideae
Tribus: Mentheae
Subtribus: Menthinae
Genus: Clinopodium
Species: Clinopodium nepeta
Subspecies: C. n. subsp. nepeta – C. n. subsp. spruneri – C. n. subsp. subisodontum

Clinopodium nepeta (L.) Kuntze, 1891

Melissa nepeta L., Sp. Pl.: 593 (1753).
Calamintha parviflora Lam., Fl. Franç. 2: 396 (1779), nom. superfl.
Melissa parviflora Salisb., Prodr. Stirp. Chap. Allerton: 86 (1796), nom. superfl.
Calamintha nepeta (L.) Savi, Fl. Pis. 1: 197 (1798).
Thymus nepeta (L.) Sm., Fl. Brit. 2: 642 (1800).
Satureja nepeta (L.) Scheele, Flora 26: 577 (1842).
Calamintha officinalis var. nepeta (L.) Rchb. & Rchb.f. in H.G.L.Reichenbach, Icon. Fl. Germ. Helv. 18: 76 (1858).
Faucibarba parviflora Dulac, Fl. Hautes-Pyrénées: 403 (1867), nom. superfl.
Satureja calamintha var. nepeta (L.) Briq., Neue Denkschr. Allg. Schweiz. Ges. Gesammten Naturwiss. 34: 454 (1895).
Satureja calamintha subsp. nepeta (L.) Briq., Lab. Alp. Mar.: 438 (1895).
Satureja vulgaris subsp. nepeta (L.) Rouy in G.Rouy & J.Foucaud, Fl. France 11: 335 (1909), nom. illeg.
Calamintha officinalis subsp. nepeta (L.) P.Fourn., Quatre Fl. France: 838 (1938), nom. illeg.

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Europe
Regional: Southeastern Europe
Albania, Bulgaria, Greece,Italy, Kriti, Krym, Romania, Sicilia, Yugoslavia, Turkey-in-Europe
Regional: Middle Europe
Austria, Hungary, Switzerland
Regional: Southwestern Europe
Baleares, Corse, France, Portugal, Sardegna, Spain
Continental: Africa
Regional: Northern Africa
Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia
Continental: Asia-Temperate
Regional: Western Asia
Lebanon-Syria, North Caucasus, East Aegean Is., Iran, Transcaucasus, Turkey
Introduced into:
Alabama, Arkansas, Bermuda, Czechoslovakia, District of Columbia, Georgia, Germany, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Southwest, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, New Zealand North, North Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Kuntze, O. 1891. Revisio generum plantarum vascularium omnium atque cellularium multarum secundum leges nomenclaturae internationales cum enumeratione plantarum exoticarum in itinere mundi collectarum. Pars II. Pp. 377–1011. Arthur Felix, Leipzig [etc.]. BHL Reference page. : 2: 515.

Additional references

Govaerts, R.H.A. 2003. World Checklist of Selected Plant Families Database in ACCESS: 1-216203. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. [unavailable for the public] Reference page.
Bailey, C. & al. (2015). Guide to the Vascular Plants of Tennessee: 1-813. University of Tennessee press.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2022. Clinopodium nepeta in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2022 Apr 17. Reference page.
Hassler, M. 2022. Clinopodium nepeta. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2022. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2022 Apr 17. Reference page. 2022. Clinopodium nepeta. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 17 Apr 2022.
International Plant Names Index. 2022. Clinopodium nepeta. Published online. Accessed: Apr 17 2022.

Vernacular names
suomi: Kivikkokäenminttu
français: Calament népéta
italiano: Mentuccia

Clinopodium nepeta (synonym Calamintha nepeta), known as lesser calamint,[2] is a perennial herb of the mint family.


Lesser calamint is a perennial shrub, forming a compact mound of shiny, green oregano-like leaves. The flowers are lavender pink. The plant reaches a height of 18 inches.[3] The lesser calamint smells like a cross between mint and oregano. It attracts honeybees and butterflies.[4] Lesser calamint usually grows in the summer, and well into the fall. It can become dormant in the winter months, then reblossom in spring. In fall, the flowers fall to the ground and will self-seed. Seedlings will flower in late August.[4] Lesser calamint often grows wild, but can also kept in pots. The average life expectancy of a plant is 3–4 years. It is susceptible to powdery mildew.[4]

The species was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753 as Melissa nepeta. It was subsequently placed in Calamintha, Thymus, Satureja and Clinopodium, among other genera. The last of these is currently accepted by the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.[1]

Three subspecies are recognized:[1]

C. nepeta subsp. nepeta – south central and southern Europe to northern Iran
C. nepeta subsp. spruneri – Mediterranean to the Caucasus
C. nepeta subsp. subisodontum – east central and south east Europe


Lesser calamint is commonly used as an herb in Italian cuisine, where it is called mentuccia, nipitella or nepitella. In southern Italy, it is used in the making of a goat cheese called cassiedu, giving the cheese a minty taste.[5]

Some sources state that Nepeta nepetella, not lesser calamint, is the nepitella used in cooking.[6]

It's used to aromatize boiled chestnuts along with other herbs in Galicia, Northwest Spain.

"Clinopodium nepeta", World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, archived from the original on 2021-08-31, retrieved 2016-08-01
BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
"Organic Medicinal Herb Plants for Sale". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2009-09-09.
"Lesser calamint". Archived from the original on 2009-11-03. Retrieved 2009-09-09.
Pieroni, Andrea (2005). Prance, Ghillean; Nesbitt, Mark (eds.). The Cultural History of Plants. Routledge. p. 39. ISBN 0415927463.
"Mentuccia, nepetella o nepitella? Facciamo un po' di chiarezza". Valfrutta (in Italian). Archived from the original on 20 September 2020. Retrieved 14 May 2020.

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