PENNYROYAL

Description

Pennyroyal, which grows wild in the Mediterranean, is found in all fields and in sunny, dry, non-humid spots. The botanical name of the pennyroyal is Calamintha nepeta. Other common names are also Nepetella or Poleggio. In Tuscany, it is called "nepetella" or "catmint", in Emilia Romagna "Calameinta", in Campania "nepeteja", in Sicily "nipitedda", and in Sardinia "nebidedda." The pennyroyal plant belongs to the Laminacee (Labiatae) family and is a perennial species that produces abundant stolons through which it spreads on the ground. Its leaves emanate a penetrating, minty aroma, even if the pennyroyal has nothing to do with the mint that belongs to the Mentha (peppermint, spicata, cervina etc..) genus. Already well known to the Romans, digestive and stimulating properties were attributed to it. In cuisine, it is the key ingredient of artichokes “alla romana” and is also used to flavor mushrooms, snail based dishes, "panzanella", and "acquacotta".Pennyroyal, similar to peppermint, is a wild plant in mediterranean climate and can be easily grown in pots or in gardens. If placed in a vase, one must make a compost by mixing 70% organic compost with 30% sand or perlite, in such a way as to obtain a substrate that always remains fresh. Pennyroyal tends to trail, therefore one should use large containers or boxes. It requires exposure to full sun. The harvest of the leaves can be done at any time during the good season, but they reach their maximum aroma when flowering. For home-grown cultivation in which the fresh leaves end up being used, one should periodically perform pruning of old branches, inducing the plant to produce new, fresh, and aromatic leaves.

Cultivation

Pennyroyal, similar to peppermint, is a wild plant in mediterranean climate and can be easily grown in pots or in gardens. If placed in a vase, one must make a compost by mixing 70% organic compost with 30% sand or perlite, in such a way as to obtain a substrate that always remains fresh. Pennyroyal tends to trail, therefore one should use large containers or boxes. It requires exposure to full sun. The harvest of the leaves can be done at any time during the good season, but they reach their maximum aroma when flowering. For home-grown cultivation in which the fresh leaves end up being used, one should periodically perform pruning of old branches, inducing the plant to produce new, fresh, and aromatic leaves.