(Calamintha nepeta) Growing wild throughout much of central and southern Italy, Mentuccia has a low mounding habit similar to oregano with brilliant green slightly fuzzy leaves. Starting as a distinct mound, it continues its growth well into fall becoming quite large and lush! The flavor is often described as somewhat of a cross between oregano or marjoram and a pure mint, with unique herbal and savory undertones beneath the more forward menthol notes. Popular in Tuscany, it is often used with dishes featuring mushrooms or fatty meats. In southern Italy, it is sometimes brewed for tea or used to flavor cheeses. In Rome it is used for Carciofi alla Romana: artichoke stuffed with bread crumbs, garlic, mentuccia, and olive oil and braised in white wine. The plant likes well-drained soil and sunshine, but generally needs little and is unfussy. A short-lived perennial it will claim its spot in the garden by reseeding, but not in a quest-to-world-domination type way. Its delicate pink blooms are very popular with the pollinator crowd and at its peak last year on the farm, it was a who’s who of bees, butterflies, and beneficials! Lovely addition to any kitchen herb garden. Hardy to zone 5.
Packet: 100 seeds