You see the picture above? And that tiny green plant with about four leaves in the center? It's mint!
Last week I was working out on the Isle of Arran in the most spectacular March weather Scotland has ever seen. As I was hiking along, mapping what rocks were where, I spied what looked like mint growing out of some basalt outcrops (a.k.a. black rocks). I didn't think it would be mint, as I've never associated it with the Scottish countryside.
Upon inspection, however, I found that it had the tell-tale square stalk that is characteristic of mint. And once I had pinched off a couple of leaves it was clear: definitely mint! Once I noticed that first clump I found more of it dotted here and there, always where rocks were exposed and often under slight overhangs.
Mint is one of the only edible plants that I remember being taught to identify. My mother had a patch of mint in her yard that was threatening to take over the world (which is why it's good to keep it planted in a container). One day in the garden she picked a sprig of mint and told me, "Look, see the square stem? That's mint; all the mint family have square stems."
How nice to be in the Scottish countryside recalling a lesson I'd had over twenty years ago in a Connecticut garden.
|More mountain mint|