A regional favorite in Tuscany where it is added to mushroom dishes and green vegetables for its distinctive minty flavor. Sautéed zucchini or mushrooms with fresh nepitella, tomatoes, and garlic is served with roast or boiled meat dishes.
A member of the mint family, lesser calamint (Calamintha nepeta) is a low growing, aromatic, spreading shrub that grows into a mound about 18 inches tall. It spreads, but is not invasive.
Sow seed in containers in spring, or divide in early spring.
Calamint is a perennial herb and a member of the mint family. Great for the scented garden, it also attracts the attention of the local bee population.
This low-growing herb has pleasant mint-scented leaves, and its tiny but profuse white or pale lilac flowers appear in late summer to fall, bearing its flowers on long stalks.
Both this and the Common Calamint seem to have been used indifferently in the old practice of medicine.
It is an erect, bushy plant with square stems, rarely more than a foot high, bearing pairs of opposite leaves, which, like the stems, are downy with soft hairs. The flowers bloom in July and August, and are somewhat inconspicuous, drooping gracefully before expansion: the corollas are of a light purple color.
The plant grows by waysides and in hedges, and is not uncommon, especially in dry places. It may be cultivated as a hardy perennial, propagated by seeds sown outdoors in April, by cuttings of side shoots in cold frames in spring, or by division of roots in October and April.
The plant boasts small, glossy dark green leaves topped with tiny pale lavender flowers, which begin appearing at the end of August and continue on into autumn. The flowers gradually turn a darker shade of purple as the weather begins to shift.
Lesser calamint is a suitable shrub for USDA zones 5 to 10, where it will grow in either partial sun or full sun. The shrub does best in a well-draining, moist soil.