Clinopodium nepeta

(Redirected from Calamintha nepeta)

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

Lesser calamint
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Clinopodium
C. nepeta
Binomial name
Clinopodium nepeta
  • Melissa nepeta L.
  • Calamintha parviflora Lam., nom. superfl.
  • Melissa parviflora Salisb., nom. superfl.
  • Calamintha nepeta (L.) Savi
  • Thymus nepeta (L.) Sm.
  • Satureja nepeta (L.) Scheele
  • Calamintha officinalis var. nepeta (L.) Rchb. & Rchb.f.
  • Satureja calamintha subsp. nepeta (L.) Briq.



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 (46 cm).[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 be 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]

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



Lesser calamint is commonly used as an herb in the Italian and Corsican cuisine, where it is called nepita, mentuccia, nipitella or nepitella. In Rome, it is used in the preparation of the Carciofi alla Romana. 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 can be used in cooking like the lesser calamint.[6]

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


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