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Melissa officinalis
LEMON BALM

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: MINT FAMILY
Habit: Annual to shrub [tree, vine], glabrous to hairy, generally aromatic. Stem: generally erect, generally 4-angled. Leaf: generally simple to deeply lobed, generally opposite, generally gland-dotted. Inflorescence: generally cymes, generally many in dense axillary clusters surrounding stem, generally separated by evident internodes or collectively crowded, spike- or panicle-like, occasionally head-like or raceme, 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, occasionally 0, lower lip generally 3-lobed; stamens generally 4, epipetalous, generally exserted, paired, pairs generally unequal, occasionally 2, staminodes 2 or 0; ovary superior, generally 4-lobed to base chambers 2, ovules 2 per chamber, style 1, generally arising from center at junction of lobes, stigmas generally 2. Fruit: generally 4 nutlets, generally ovoid to oblong, smooth.
Genera In Family: +- 230 genera, 7200 species: worldwide. Many cultivated for herbs, oils (Lavandula, lavender; Mentha, mint; Rosmarinus, rosemary; Thymus, thyme), some cultivated as ornamental (in California Cedronella, Leonotis, Monarda, Phlomis). Note: Moluccella laevis L., shell flower, historical waif in California. Satureja calamintha (L.) Scheele subsp. ascendens (Jordan) Briq. reported as alien but not naturalized. Salazaria moved to Scutellaria; California Hyptis moved to Condea, California Satureja moved to Clinopodium.
eFlora Treatment Author: Dieter H. Wilken & Margriet Wetherwax, family description, key to genera
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: MelissaView Description 

Habit: Perennial herb. Stem: erect, simple to branched. Leaf: petioled; blade oblong to ovate, crenate to serrate. Inflorescence: +- open, in axils of distal leaves, short-bracted. Flower: calyx 2-lipped, upper lip > lower, 3-lobed, lower 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 +- equal, included under upper lip; style lobes unequal. Fruit: ovoid, smooth.
Species In Genus: 3 species: Europe, western Asia. Etymology: (Greek: bee)
eFlora Treatment Author: John M. Miller & Dieter H. Wilken

Melissa officinalis L.
NATURALIZED
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 distally on stem; pedicels 2--5 mm. Flower: calyx 7--9 mm, tube ribbed, long-soft-hairy; corolla 8--15 mm, white to cream, occasionally tinged lavender.
Ecology: Moist sites, meadows, fields; Elevation: < 800 m. Bioregional Distribution: NW, CaRF, n SNF, CW; Distribution Outside California: native to southern Europe. Flowering Time: Jun--Sep
eFlora Treatment Author: John M. Miller & Dieter H. Wilken
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Citation for this treatment: John M. Miller & Dieter H. Wilken 2016. Melissa officinalis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=33161, accessed on December 10, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on December 10, 2016.


Melissa officinalis
click for enlargement
© 2001 Tony Morosco
Melissa officinalis
click for enlargement
© 2001 Tony Morosco
Melissa officinalis
click for enlargement
© 2001 Tony Morosco
Melissa officinalis
click for enlargement
© 2001 Tony Morosco
Melissa officinalis
click for enlargement
© 2001 Tony Morosco
Melissa officinalis
click for enlargement
© 2001 Tony Morosco

More photos of Melissa officinalis in CalPhotos


Geographic subdivisions for Melissa officinalis:
NW, CaRF, n SNF, CW;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.