(Mentha Pulegium, Linn.), a perennial herb of the natural
order Labiatae, native of Europe and parts of Asia, found wild and
naturalized throughout the civilized world in strong, moist soil on the
borders of ponds and streams. Its square, prostrate stems, which readily
take root at the nodes, bear roundish-oval, grayish-green, slightly
hairy leaves and small lilac-blue flowers in whorled clusters of ten or
a dozen, ris
ng in tiers, one above another, at the nodes. The seed is
light brown, oval and very small. Like most of its near relatives,
pennyroyal is highly aromatic, perhaps even more so than any other mint.
The flavor is more pungent and acrid and less agreeable than that of
spearmint or peppermint.
Ordinarily the plant is propagated by division like mint, or more rarely
by cuttings. Cultivation is the same as that of mint. Plantations
generally last for four or five years, and even longer, when well
managed and on favorable soil. In England it is more extensively
cultivated than in America for drying and for its oil, of which latter a
yield of 12 pounds to the acre is considered good. The leaves, green or
dried, are used abroad to flavor puddings and other culinary
preparations, but the taste and odor are usually not pleasant to
American and English palates and noses.