Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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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, except as noted
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
Reference: Wagstaff et al. 1998 Pl Syst Evol 209:265--274
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
Jepson eFlora Author: John M. Miller & Dieter H. Wilken
Reference: Wagstaff et al. 1998 Pl Syst Evol 209:265--274
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Citation for this treatment: John M. Miller & Dieter H. Wilken 2012, Melissa officinalis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=33161, accessed on October 15, 2019.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2019, Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/eflora/, accessed on October 15, 2019.

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
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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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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.