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Poliomintha maderensis (photo courtesy of Rob Cardillo)
Poliomintha maderensis (photo courtesy of Rob Cardillo)

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Zones 8-24

Poliomintha maderensis

Mexican Oregano, Lavender Spice

Evergreen, Shrubs

POLIOMINTHA

These are mint relatives with the family’s typical square stems; paired opposite leaves; tubular, two-lipped flowers; and strong, often pleasant aroma. Well-grown plants reach about 3 ft. tall and wide. Very tolerant of many soils.

Poliomintha maderensis

Native to eastern Mexico. Habit varies from somewhat cascading to upright; reaches about 3 ft. tall and wide. Leaves are shiny deep green, less than 1/2 in. long, with the odor and flavor of true oregano (Origanum). Long-tubed (1–1 1/2 in.) flowers open lavender, deepen to purple, and finally fade to white; all three colors are present on the plant at once. Long bloom season, from late spring into fall. Stems are brittle, so locate away from high-traffic areas. Give light shade in hottest desert regions, full sun elsewhere.

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