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Peppermint Gum or broad-leaved peppermint is a species of eucalypt tree of up to 20 m height native to the temperate South-Eastern corner of Australia. Its leaves are ovate and glaucous when immature, later lanceolate and glossy dark green. Cream-coloured flowers are followed by woody seed capsules. Large commercial plantations of Eucalyptus dives exist in South Africa. There are two chemotypes of peppermint gum. The cineole type is grown for its essential oil and features the typical eucalypt smell. The piperitone chemotype is distilled to a very different essential oil. It may also be used as a leaf spice and herbal infusion. Its smell and taste remind of peppermint.

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Peppermint gum as a spice

Early white settlers of Australia harvested peppermint gum leaves from wild trees and used them as tea and leaf spice. In combination with black tea it was very popular as billy tea. Nowadays peppermint gum is used as a bushfood spice and is grown commercially in small plantations in New South Wales. The leaves can be bought dried and ground. Peppermint Gum Leaf, as it is called by spice merchands, goes well with desserts, cakes and in bread mixes.

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