One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Either of two similar apple-scented mints grown as herbs, Mentha suaveolens, originally of southern Europe (and south-west Britain) and now widely naturalized, and M.× villosa, a hybrid of M. suaveolens and spearmint (M. spicata); especially a broad-leaved cultivar of this hybrid, M.× villosa var. alopecuroides.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in The Times.
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