Mint?? or Weed?? HELP!!!!

thistlebloom

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It has a roughly "minty" appearance to me, but not any mint that I'm familiar with. The leaves seem too serrated. And the leaves don't look right for catmint....

Could it possibly be horehound?

If it has opposite leaves and a square stem it's in the mint family, so that narrows it down to only hundreds of possibilities :rolleyes:

I could see it being something you thought was dead and tossed in the chicken pen. My chickens avoid mint, so if it wasn't scratched to oblivion I could see it surviving.

Does it smell mint minty, or more musky? Catmint makes me slightly nauseous, so even though it's in the same family I don't like the aroma at all.

Maybe you could cut a separate stem and take a closeup of that. It might give a better clue.
 

897tgigvib

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Thistle, your idea of it being Horehound made me look it up. That has always been a confusing plant to me because some look so different than others. (On the other hand, some mints with different names look so much alike they confuse me, especially when at the greenhouse customers removed the tags. Oh shoot, Orange Mint or Chocolate Mint?)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballota

So in the Wikipedia article here I can see why now that some Horehounds look so different than others. That word PARAPHYLETIC in the 2nd paragraph tells the reason. Paraphyletic is one of those fancy words that population geneticists, evolutionary biologists, and taxonomists to describe a group that has not been placed into the right species, genus, or maybe family. Looks like for Horehound, two different genera of Lamiaceae have been named Horehound, and the experts have not yet got them sorted out. (Another example of a paraphyletic group is when they used to describe Birds as a group distinct from Dinosaurs, as when saying "Dinosaur", but not including Birds, while it turns out, birds are descended from Dinosaurs. Yes. Birds are a form of Dinosaur, and it is paraphyletically incorrect to say they are not.) Somehow there is a similar lineage problem going on with the Horehounds.

The Horehounds I know have extremely small puckerings on the leaves, like, lots and lots of surface area on a small actual area because at a tiny scale, Horehound leaves seem all compacted, very small bumps. This Horehound has a different way to the leaf. Ridges extending from the center line. I just don't know what this plant is. If it smells like a Horehound, that would be my guess too.

=====

For all I know this could be a small Elm tree! The things I'd want to try to id this one would require me being there. I'd want to crush a leaf and smell it. Look at the leaves closely, the stems, the nodes. Especially with this one I want to see the flowers. Are the flowers Lamiaceae type flowers that don't immediately end the apex of the meristem on first florescence. (One flower after another with a length of stem and perhaps leaf between.)

Another possibility, if the aroma is only very faint, could be Veronica. Those are variable enough to be a good one to stump folks with! Veronicas are on another side of the Lamiaceae family, a side that has very little fragrant oils and puts the flowers closer together on the apex of the meristem. (That's the actual growing tip where the cells divide a lot. One of the things Botany teachers first teach students about. Nothing fancy, just another fancy word for a special and beautiful part of plants. I wish they would have called it a plain name like point of stem growth.) Veronica has varieties that are low growing mat plants, and others that grow tall with big spikes of flowers. Some have little soft round leaves, others have long leaves. Some have rugose leaves, but none I've seen are quite like this.

I'm stumped!
 

dipence71

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It doesnt have a strong minty smell but I gave some to the cat and she seems to like it. dancing and playing with it. even nibbling on it.
 

dipence71

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it seems fuzzier than lemon balm or regular mint
 

digitS'

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I guess I missed that you had posted a picture a couple of weeks ago, Dipence. Without a picture, I don't know how anyone ID's any plant! Still, :rolleyes: I don't know . . .

It does look something like my lemon balm but take your word that it is fuzzier. It looks mostly like catnip but not quite. I wonder if it is just a catnip with some differences because of environment. . ?

Thinking that it may well be a Nepeta, I looked at USDA Plants. They show that there is something called a "Caucasus Catmint" that is found as an invasive in ~ of all places(!) ~ Wyoming, Quebec & New York. I doubt that these are the only places in North America for the plant - just that it has not been reported elsewhere.

Anyway, the pictures that I can come up with for this catnip doesn't look a whole lot like your plant, Dipence: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Nepeta_grandiflora Perhaps, most especially since yours has not bloomed. Also, we have to keep in mind that the pics are from wikipedia and subject to the volunteer's ID.

There's another catnip: Raceme Catnip but it really doesn't look like that one.

So, the easiest, simplest thing I can guess is that it is just catnip where life is a bit different for it. So, it is growing differently. It would be fun if it is the Caucasus Catnip but I think you will have to wait for the flowers for that determination.

Sorry I can't be of any more help than that but it was fun for me to learn that there are other Nepeta out there.

Steve
 

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