Aztec Sweet Herb (Lippia dulcis)
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Lyn Williams
Posted on: February 21, 2001

Could you please give me more detail on the characteristics of Aztec Sweet Herb, as I have just purchased two plants from a local grower here in Australia which are named Aztec (Lippia dulcis)? On looking up Lippia dulcis in ‘A Modern Herbal - Mrs Grieve’, (as I wanted the ‘Family’ of this plant), she describes it as an evergreen shrub which reaches 18 feet high with rough bark. What I have bought is a low growing creeper, such as the one you describe on page 8 of your 2001 catalogue. I would appreciate any comments you can offer regarding this apparent discrepancy, and I look forward to your reply.

We have bought quite a lot from you in the past and we will shortly be ordering a range of seeds.

We believe Mrs Grieve’s plant was not Lippa dulcis but something else, perhaps another species of Lippia or another related genus. Other members of Lippia such as L. graveolens do grow as woody shrubs or small trees. As there are over 150 species of Lippia, it is entirely possible that her plant was another Lippia incorrectly identified as "Lippia dulcis".

True specimens of the species deposited at the Missouri Botanical Garden herbarium are annotated with heights between 25 cm and 50 cm. Similarly, a Mexican government monograph on the plant describe it as a sub-woody herb of 50 cm in height.

By the way, the Missouri Botanical Garden says the modern accepted botanical name for this plant is now Phyla dulcis. Lippia dulcis is now regarded as an older synonym. We will be updating our catalogue to reflect this change.

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