Gypsywort (Lycopus europaeus) is a short to medium sided plant reaching a maximum height of 1 meter. Gypsywort looks very similar to Mint with the square stem, leaves that appear opposite along the stem and deeply notched leaves, although it is odourless and only has 2 stamens compared that of Mint which has 4 stamens per flower.
The flowers bloom from June to September producing white flowers with purple dots. It is found in damp ditches, marshes and streams. The stem is stiff and erect with its square stem with the opposite leaves which are veined and coarsely toothed giving it that Mint like appearance.
The stem and leaves of this plant were often used as a sedative to treat anxiety and heart palpitations. It has also been used to make permanent black dye which is possibly where it got the name from, as gypsies were said to use this dye to stain their skin darker to make themselves look like Africans or Egyptians when they were performing “magic”.
Height: 50 – 100cm
Flowering Time: July to Sept
Preferred Conditions: This plant requires damp or wet soil conditions. It is mainly found on banks of rivers, streams, lakes, ditches and fens.