I love the cool taste of peppermint, but the plants themselves do not grow wild here in Tucson. Arizona is one of the few states where Peppermint (Mentha × piperita) has not been recorded.

Spearmint (Mentha spicata) does grow wild here and can be found growing near streams in the mountains.

Spearmint (Mentha spicata) flowers

Spearmint can be recognized by its deeply-veined or crinkly-looking, lance-shaped leaves and distinctive minty smell. The dried leaves make a refreshing tea.

I found some wild Spearmint growing along a wash in the Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site. This place used to be an old prison camp, and it is possible that this wild Spearmint originally came from their kitchen garden. I broke off a few stems of the wild Spearmint and kept them in a glass of water until they rooted. I then planted them in a pot, and I now have nice, fresh Spearmint whenever I need it.