Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Mentha pulegium
L., Lamiaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Other Latin names:  Pulegium vulgare Mill.

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: chun e bo he

English: European pennyroyal, pennyroyal, peppermint

French: herbe aux puces, menthe pouliot, menthe pouliot, pouliot

Japanese: megusa hakka, penirooyaru minto

Spanish: menta, menta poleo, poleo

Habit:  herb

Description:  "Aromatic, tomentose perennial herbs; stems procumbent to ascending, 1-4 dm long.  Leaves narrowly ovate to narrowly elliptic, 8-30 mm long, 0.4-12 mm wide, pubescent at least on lower surface, margins subentire or with up to 6 teeth on each side, base attenuate, sessile or subsessile.  Flowers in well-spaced verticillasters in the leaf axils; calyx (2-) 2.5-3 mm long, the teeth ciliate, lower ones subulate, upper ones slightly shorter and wider; corolla lilac, (4-) 4.5-6 mm long; stamens exserted beyond to included in corolla tube.  Nutlets pale brown, ca. 0.7-0.8 mm long"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 807).

Habitat/ecology:  "Grassland, riparian habitats, freshwater wetlands, alluvial plains.  A highly variable species with regard to growth habit and leaf shape.  Several varieties have been described in the native range where it hybridizes with several congeners.  The plant forms dense stands that crowd out native vegetation and reduce species richness.  Damaged plants easily resprout"  (Weber, 2003; p. 266).

In Hawai‘i, "cultivated and escaping from gardens, usually in damp areas"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 807).  "In Chile this species grows in the following environmental conditions:  Low altitude, interior valleys; coastal mountains, 500-2000 m; coastal areas, 0-500 m.  Humid areas, with almost constant rainfall, short dry periods are possible (generally not longer than 1 month); somewhat dry areas where the drought may last 3-5 months, precipitations of 400-800 mm. are concentrated in winter.  Fully exposed to the sun, level areas or slopes facing north"  (Chileflora).

Propagation:  Seed.  "It is a prolific seed producer, and seeds are dispersed by water and animals.  Seedlings can emerge and establish under water, enabling the plant to invade flooded areas.  It accumulates a soil seed bank"  (Weber, 2003; p. 266).

Native range:  Northern Africa, Europe, western Asia; cultivated and naturalized elsewhere (GRIN).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
invasive
Atkinson, Rachel/Sawyer, John (2011)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
invasive
Danton, Philippe/Perrier, Christophe/Martinez Reyes, Guido (2006) (p. 555)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más Afuera (Alejandro Selkirk Island) introduced
Skottsberg, Carl (1953) (p. 223)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más Afuera (Alejandro Selkirk Island) introduced
invasive
Atkinson, Rachel/Sawyer, John (2011)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más Afuera (Alejandro Selkirk Island) introduced
invasive
Danton, Philippe/Perrier, Christophe/Martinez Reyes, Guido (2006) (p. 555)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island   Bishop Museum (U.S.A. Hawaii. Honolulu.) (1948) (voucher ID: BISH 53279)
Taxon name on voucher: Mentha pulegium L.
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 807)
Voucher cited: Forbes 2633.M (BISH)
Cultivated and escaping from gardens.
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 69)
Voucher cited: MacKee 34795
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
Australia (continental) introduced
invasive
Porcher, Michel H. (2013)
South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria
Naturalised
Australia
Australia (continental)
New South Wales introduced
invasive
Porcher, Michel H. (2013)
"Grows in damp areas, depressions, in alluvial silt of rivers, and on banks of rivers and creeks, occurring in sandy to loam-rich soils."
Naturalised
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
invasive
Porcher, Michel H. (2013)
Naturalised
Canada (British Colombia)
Province of British Columbia
Canada (British Columbia) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
China
China
China (People's Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
Beijing Shi, Nanjing Shi, and other cities.
Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Java
Japan
Japan
Japan (country) introduced
Mito, Toshikazu/Uesugi, Tetsuro (2004) (p. 188)
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States) introduced
cultivated
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. (1988) (p. 780)
"Common to abundant in wet pastures, by rivers and lakesides, also in drier places, including bare lava and backs of sandy beaches".
South America (Pacific rim)
South America (Pacific rim)
Chile (Republic of) introduced
invasive
cultivated
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
South America (Pacific rim)
South America (Pacific rim)
Chile (Republic of) introduced
Skottsberg, Carl (1953) (p. 223)
South America (Pacific rim)
South America (Pacific rim)
Chile (Republic of) introduced
invasive
Belov, Michail (2013)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (Oregon) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (California) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (Washington) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
United States (other states) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania

Control: 

Physical:  "Single plants and small patches are hand pulled or dug out.  Roots and stolons must be removed to prevent regrowth.  Follow-up programs are necessary to treat regrowth and seedlings".

Chemical:  "Seedlings can be controlled with 2,4-D, established plants with glyphosate, metsulfuron-methyl, or triclopyr plus picloram"  (Weber, 2003; p. 266).


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This page was created on 21 FEB 2007 and was last updated on 21 MAY 2013.