Recently a unidentified fresh smell was noticed in the general shore area. I quick perusal of a Field Guide to Edible Plants from Nathan, indicated that there was a wild mint variety called water mint that, believe it or not, grows near or in the water. So I looked closely at the plant. And then I looked online. It did not quite match. Water mint is supposed to be a more course, and quite hairy. Ok, maybe it was some other variety, so I kept looking. The variety in our yard is growing in water, has purplish stems, rather smooth leaves, and few, if any hairs. The flavor is also very minty, without much of the usual odd flavors you get with garden mints. Based on descriptions, it looked like my variety may be peppermint, or “chocolate” mint. The problem is that peppermint is a (usually sterile) hybrid between spearmint and watermint. It could have drifted to our shores, I suppose, or it could just be the chocolate variety.
In any case, I did a final harvest of the spearmint in the garden that I did not care much for, and installed a cutting from the wild variety, placing it in a pot in the ground to ensure it does not acquire world domination. The old mint is now drying in the kitchen, awaiting it’s final destination at the bottom of a teacup.