Apple Mint (Mentha suaveolens)
A strong and flavorful mint, similar in scent and taste to Spearmint (M. spicata). The flower spikes are the most distinguishing feature: flowers bloom in dense cylindrical spikes, like green fingers, rather than the looser interrupted spikes of Spearmint. Apple Mint grows in sunny waste places; this patch was growing on a weedy bank next to a softball field in Beechview, where it was blooming in the middle of August.
Gray lists this species as Mentha rotundifolia:
MÉNTHA [Tourn.] L. Mint. Calyx Ьеll-shaped or tubular, the 5 teeth equal or nearly so. Corolla with a short included tube, the upper lobe slightly broader, entire or notched. Stamens 4, equal, erect, distant. — Odorous perennial herbs; the small flowers mostly in close clusters, forming axillary capitate whorls, sometimes approximated in interrupted spikes, produced in summer, of two sorts as to the fertility of the stamens in most species. Corolla pale purple or whitish. Species mostly adventive or naturalized from Europe, with many hybrids. (Minthe of Theophrastus, from a Nymph of that name, fabled to have been changed Into Mint by Proserpine.)
Spikes narrow and leafless, densely crowded; leaves sessile or nearly so.
Spikes not canescent.
M. rotundifòlia (L.) Huds. Soft-hairy or downy; leaves broadly elliptical to round-ovate and somewhat heart-shaped, rugose, coarsely crenate-toothed; spikes slender. — At a few stations, Me. to O., Fla., and Tex. (Nat. from Eu.)