Spearmint Would Totally Be Don Corleone

Another short entry tonight; this one is to wonder at how cool it is that lavender, rosemary, mint, thyme, lemon balm, catnip, catmint, bee balm, basil, marjoram, oregano, savory and sage are all in the same plant family, the Lamiaceae.

I mean, what a family, right?

Even if you’ve never gardened or you’re like my good friend who proclaims herself a hospice for plants (where plants go to die with dignity), you have heard of all or most of these plants.  For sure you’ve heard of mint; and you’ve waxed foofy about lavender.  Possibly you’ve ever eaten something with basil; certainly you’ve eaten something flavored with oregano (oregano is like the Alfred Molina of the kitchen, seamlessly blending into any kind of dish you can think of– thank you, Monsieur Meow for the help with that analogy!).  And if you have a cat, chances are you’ve tried to get it high with catnip or catmint –and 2/3 of the time, it probably worked.

So yes.  If suddenly the mint family were to disappear from the planet I would be intensely sad.  Also, cooking would not be nearly as much of a pleasure or an olfactory parade; also, the pleasure of a summer walk infused by the scent of rosemary and lavender in the air would be gone forever.

What would happen to mint juleps?  The gum industry would all but collapse if spearmint and peppermint disappeared from their flavor palette, I would reckon.  And Italy would probably implode on account of the lack of basil.  France, too– what would we put in bouquets garnis?  What would grow, fragrant and lovely in southern fields?

The native American rituals would be deprived of their smudge sticks and chicken would be a bland, greasy victual, overdependent on lemon and pepper to help it out.  And turkey would refuse to come to our tables at Thanksgiving, as a sign of protest.

And then, there are all the honey bees.

__________

Honey bees, both in kept colonies and wild,  love all these members of the Lamiaceae, quite a lot. 

And it seems that honey bees are disappearing, succumbing to something called Colony Collapse Disorder.  And that is not good for crops and it’s not good for farmers who’ve come to depend on these bees to do the pollinating for them. 

If scientists can’t figure out what is wrong with honey bees, you can imagine that I’m at a loss for words.  All I can say is that this sounds like a very dire and pressing issue that urges us as citizens of the world to appreciate creatures big and small, motile and sessile.

I encourage you to at least click through this stream of Flickr pictures of honey bees.  Look at the wonder and beauty that may be gone for good.

And consider adopting a member of the Lamiaceae, perhaps? 

Click here and here for more ways to help.

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This entry was published on May 13, 2008 at 9:52 pm and is filed under Gardening. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

7 thoughts on “Spearmint Would Totally Be Don Corleone

  1. This was a great entry..I sure learned a lot!!

  2. I have grown almost all of those.. and had no idea they were all in the same family! Great post…

  3. most importantly, without mint, what would we make mojitos with???

  4. Alfred Molina of the kitchen – amazing turn of phrase šŸ™‚
    As always an amazing post

  5. Mint is heavenly in, of all things, margaritas. We discovered on it, sort of accidentally, when I had some mint to use up. It adds a nice, subtle, kick…as the lime juice is too powerful to have the mint stand out much.

  6. A hospice for plants eh? That’s nice. That is what I will consider myself from this point on.
    Thank your friend for making me feel a little better about my plant murdering ways.

  7. I’ve been worried about the honey bee situation, too, but didn’t know what to do about it, so I appreciate the info and the links!

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