Low calamint

Clinopodium arkansanum

Common Name: Low Calamint

  • Gives off pleasant, intense minty scent.
  • Usually stiff branches, 4-8 inches tall.
  • Tiny, egg-shaped leaves.
  • Small white to pale purple flowers from May to August or September.

Native or Invasive: Native perennial

Characteristics: Perhaps the most distinctive thing about the low calamint is its scent, as a result of the aromatic oils in the resinous leaves. The low calamint grows throughout the Straits of Mackinac area, as well as beaches along lakes Erie, Huron and Michigan. It can also be found in Texas, southern Wisconsin and the limestone barrens of Kentucky. It is “locally abundant” which means it is not common, but where there is one plant, there is often a whole group of plants growing together.

Habitat: Found along damp shores, in wet areas within dune systems and on the edges of nearby woods.

Fun Fact: Even new seedlings have an intense, mint smell. The plants are often discovered by accident, after stepping on them and unleashing the mint scent.

Ethnobotanical Uses: None known, although different mint varieties are used for many different things.

Adapted from Guide to Great Lakes Coastal Plants, by Ellen Elliott Weatherbee, University of Michigan Press.