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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

LAMIACEAE

MINT FAMILY

Dieter H. Wilken, except as specifed

Annual, perennial herb, shrub, glabrous to hairy, generally aromatic
Stems generally erect, generally 4-angled
Leaves generally simple to deeply lobed, opposite, generally gland-dotted
Inflorescence: cyme, generally clustered around stem, head-like, separated by evident internodes (terminal in Monardella ) or collectively crowded, spike-like to panicle-like (sometimes raceme or flowers 2–12); subtended by leaves or bracts; flowers sessile or pedicelled
Flower generally bisexual; calyx generally 5-lobed, radial to bilateral; corolla generally bilateral, 1–2-lipped, upper lip entire or 2-lobed, ± flat to hood-like, sometimes 0, lower lip generally 3-lobed; stamens generally 4, generally exserted, paired, pairs unequal, sometimes 2, staminodes 2 or 0; ovary superior, generally 4-lobed to base, chambers 2, ovules 2 per chamber, style 1, arising from center at junction of lobes, stigmas generally 2
Fruit: nutlets 4, generally ovoid to oblong, smooth
Genera in family: ± 200 genera, 5500 species: worldwide. Many cultivated for herbs, oils (Lavandula , lavender; Mentha , mint; Ocimum , basil; Rosmarinus , rosemary; Thymus , thyme), some cultivated as ornamental (in CA Cedronella , Leonotis , Phlomis )
Reference: [Cantino & Sanders 1986 Syst Bot 11:163–185]

MELISSA

BALM

Perennial
Stems erect, simple or branched
Leaf petioled; blade oblong to ovate, crenate to serrate
Inflorescences axillary at upper nodes, each ± open, subtended by leaves, short-bracted
Flower: calyx 2-lipped, upper lip > lower lip, 3-lobed, lower lip 2-lobed; corolla 2-lipped, upper lip ± entire, hood-like, erect or reflexed, lower lip 3-lobed, tube > calyx, curved upward; stamens 4, fertile, pairs subequal, including under upper lip; style lobes unequal
Fruit ovoid, smooth
Species in genus: 3 species: Eur, w Asia
Etymology: (Greek: bee)

Introduced

M. officinalis L.

BEE BALM


Stem branched, 2–15 dm, finely glandular hairy
Leaf: blade 2–14 cm, 1.5–7 cm wide, ovate, crenate
Inflorescence: flowers 4–12; subtending leaves reduced upward; pedicels 2–5 mm
Flower: calyx 7–9 mm, tube ribbed, long-soft-hairy; corolla 8–15 mm, light yellow, becoming ± white or pinkish
Ecology: Moist sites, meadows, ditches, fields
Elevation: < 800 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, Cascade Range Foothills, n Sierra Nevada Foothills, Central Western California
Distribution outside California: native to s Europe

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