shopping Pennyroyal - one variety
Pennyroyal, c/s image
[ 691 ]Mentha pulegium

Pennyroyal Cut & Sifted

1/4 Pound:  $3.17 Pound:  $7.05 
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Wholesale Pennyroyal

Mentha pulegium
plant overview
natural pest deterrent

Pennyroyal, also referred to as European pennyroyal to distinguish the herb from false pennyroyal, is a member of the mint family native to most of Europe and Asia. Although its common name stems from a corruption of Pulioll-royall, the name given to the plant by medieval herbalists, pennyroyal is also known as Run-by-the-Ground and Lurk-in-the-Ditch, likely in reference to its invasiveness. The nickname Pudding Grass evolved from its old-time use as a stuffing ingredient in a type of sausage known as “hogs pudding.” Due to the toxicity of a compound called pulegone, internal use of pennyroyal is no longer advisable. The dried herb is, however, an excellent deterrent to fleas and other pests.

Clicking "learn more" next to each variety will take you to individual product pages for details.

A Bit of Botany

a little botanical information on pennyroyal

Mentha pulegium is the smallest of the perennial mints in the Lamiaceae family.

Two varieties are common, the variety decumbens, has weak, prostrate stems, bluntly quadrangular, 3 inches to a foot long, which readily take root at the lower joints or nodes. The leaves are opposite, shortly stalked, more or less hairy on both sides, round/ oval, grayish green, about 1 to 1 1/2 inch long and 1/2 inch broad. The flowers are in whorled clusters of ten or a dozen, rising in tiers one above the other at the nodes, where the leaves spring in pairs, beginning about the middle of the stem, their color reddish purple to lilac blue, and in bloom during July and August. The seed is light brown, oval and very small.

The other variety, erecta, has much stouter stems, not rooting at the nodes and not decumbent, but erect or sub-erect, 8 to 12 inches high. It is rarer, but the best for cultivation, as it can be reaped and tied up in bundles easily, whereas the stems of decumbens form a dense green turf. The leaves of either, when crushed, have a spearmint-like scent.

common names & nomenclature
One of its popular names is pudding grass, from being formerly used in the stuffing for hog's puddings.

Also known as:
pennyroyal, european pennyroyal, squaw mint, mosquito plant, pulegium, run-by-the-ground, lurk-in-the-ditch, pudding grass, piliolerial

Pennyroyal, the natural pest deterrent

Where in the World

habitat and range for pennyroyal

Mentha pulegium is native to most parts of Europe and parts of Asia.

Cultivation & Harvesting

considerations for growing and harvesting pennyroyal

Grows in moist meadows and by streams in sun to part shade.

Prefers sandy soils, does not tolerate dry soil well.

Sow seed in spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually fairly quick. Transplant the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer.

Mentha species are very prone to hybridization and so the seed cannot be relied on to breed true. Even without hybridization, seedlings will not be uniform and so the content of medicinal oils etc will vary. When growing plants with a particular aroma it is best to propagate them by division. Division can be easily carried out at almost any time of the year, though it is probably best done in the spring or autumn to allow the plant to establish more quickly.

The leaves are harvested in the summer as the plant comes into flower and are dried for later use.

Store dried pennyroyal in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

The Rest of the Story

pennyroyal history, folklore, literature & more

Pennyroyal became popular during the first century after the Roman naturalist Pliny noted the aromatic plant repelled fleas, hence its name, fleabane. When rubbed on the skin or strewn, it also repels other insects, hence such common names as tick weed and mosquito plant.

During the early middle ages, pennyroyal was recommended for truly bizarre purposes. Physician/philosopher Saint Albertus Magnus wrote that by covering drowning bees in its warm ashes, "they shall recover their life after a space of one hour," though it remains unclear why anyone would want to revive drowning bees.

For repelling insects, rub fresh, crushed plant material around the body, or mix pennyroyal tincture into a skin cream and rub that on.

For an herbal pet flea collar, try a pennyroyal garland or a bag of the herb hung from a regular collar.

for educational purposes only

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

please be advised:  Before making any changes to your diet you should always consult with your doctor, especially if you are pregnant, nursing or have existing conditions.

All reviews solely reflect the views and opinions expressed by the reviewer and not that of Monterey Bay Herb Co. We do not verify or endorse any claims made by any reviewer. None of these statements have been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition.