Mentha piperita


One of the most distinct characteristics of M. piperita is the way in which it reproduces.  The peppermint species is a hybrid, meaning that is a cross between two unique species; M. aquatica and M. spicata (watermint and spearmint, respectively).  In the same way that a horse and a donkey make a mule that cannot reproduce, these two species create peppermint, which is also sterile.  This leads to a number of common misconceptions:

1.  M. piperita cannot live separately from its parent species.  As it so happens, M.piperita actually exists most often without its parent species.  This is due to a highly specialized structure called the stolon, commonly known as runners, which allow the plant to spread along the substrate, producing clones of itself along the way.  To read more about the stolon, check out the adaptations page!

2.  M. piperita cannot effectively grow and spread.  Due to the aforementioned stolons, the peppermint plant is actually considered an invasive species in the northern Midwest, spreading wildly unless contained.

To find out how M. piperita interacts with other organisms in its environment, check out the interactions page!

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