The wild ramp, AKA wild leek, botanical name Allium tricoccum, is a flowering perennial plant that grows in clusters. It is a member of the Allium family along with onions and leeks
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As its name suggests, Chocolate mint is a variety of mint that has nuances of chocolate in both fragrance and flavor. Subtle notes of cocoa and vanilla mix with a traditional spicy mint finish. When grown in sufficient sunlight, the lush green leaves even develop burgundy veins to match the chocolate-colored stems.
Chocolate mint may be found year-round, with peak season in the summer.
Chocolate mint is a subspecies of mint within the Lamiaceae or Labiatae family, and is botanically classified as Mentha x piperita f. citrate ‘Chocolate’. It is closely related to other aromatic mint varities known for mimicking unique flavors including, lime, orange, basil, and of course chocolate. These piperita hybrids are crosses between Mentha aquatica (watermint) and Mentha spicata (spearmint). They are commonly grown as a culinary herb or as ground cover.
Like other mint varieties, Chocolate mint is rich in vitamins A and C as well as trace amounts of manganese. Its essential oils have been known to combat nausea, cramping and indigestion.
Chocolate mint is popular for use in a variety of dessert applications. Leaves can be used to add flavor to ice cream, mousse and custards. Use in cocktails where traditional mint is called for to add a subtle cocoa aroma and flavor. Chop leaves and add to ice cubes or popsicles. Chocolate mint leaves also make a beautiful garnish for beverages and desserts.
The Greek philosopher and botanist, Theophrastus, named the Mentha genus from a story in Green Mythology. It was said that the nymph Menthe was so adored by Pluto that Proserpine became jealous and had her turned into the plant that we know as mint.
Mint hybrids commonly occur throughout the Mentha genus and have origins in Europe, Africa and Asia. Mentha citrata, the father species of Chocolate mint, is actually called bergamot mint or orange mint. Adding more confusion to nomenclature, some botanists consider it a separate species, yet others classify it as a variety of M. aquatic or water mint. Chocolate mint can thrive in a variety of different growing conditions provided it has moist soil and full to partial sun exposure. The horizontal growth of its underground rhizomes lend it to aggressive spreading. When left unleashed it quickly overtakes other plants, and is best contained in pots or separate garden beds.