Mint with the strength of rosemary

Latin name: Prostanthera spp. Specific versions are variously called “native thyme”, “native oregano”, or “native mint”, which can be extremely confusing; so we don’t use these common names.

Known edible varieties include the following:

  • Prostanthera rotundifolia. Round-leaf mintbush, or”native oregano”.
  • Prostanthera incisa, Cut-leaf mintbush, or “native thyme”.
  • Prostanthera ovifolia. Oval-leaf mintbush.

Note that not all Prostantheras are edible, so check with an expert before taste-testing any not listed here.


  • Strong, “dark” minty flavour.
  • Similar flavour profile as rosemary, and works very well as a substitute.
  • Good with savoury dishes such as lamb.
  • Excellent in a herb and/or spice mix, such as with salt or other herbs.
  • Can be used fresh or dried. The flavours between the two are very different; the dried version loses the resiny flavour and gains fragrant rosemary depth.


  • Very pretty medium-sized shrub with purple or white (depending on variety) spring-flowering flowers that responds well to pruning; readily available in nurseries as a result.
  • Flowers are also edible, and are a good bee forage.
  • Do well in cool climate and frosty areas.
  • Frost tolerant even while young.
  • Hedge extremely well and appreciate being lightly pruned to keep in shape.
  • If not pruned, can get very sprawling over the years.
  • Not a long-lived plant – 10 years at most.
A small purple flower, bell-shaped with flared edges, points down from purplish-green leaves and stem, against a blurred greenish background.
Flower of round-leaf mintbush

Harvesting and storage

  • Use both whole and ground leaves, both fresh and dried.
  • Leaves dry best in a cool, well-aired location. Keep out of direct sun or heat for the best result.
  • If harvesting your own plant, try keeping leaves on pruned branches and placing in a vase with no water. Ensure good airflow around the stems and leaves to prevent mould.
  • The result looks wonderful, and will give out a subtle scent over the next week or so as it gently dries.
  • Leaves can also be dried at low heat in a dehydrator.
  • Leaves can then be easily stripped off the stems and placed in an airtight container for storage.
  • Whole leaves will keep their savour for a good 12 months, if need be.
  • Grind by hand or in a high-powered blender and store in an airtight container.
  • Ground leaves will retain the best scent for about three months.
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