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Subfamily

VII. Subfam. Nepetoideae (Dumort.) Luerss. (1882).

VII. 2. Tribe Mentheae Dumort. (1827).

VII. 2. D. Tribe Mentheae: Incertae Sedis

Description

Perennial herbs, ± rhizomatous, aromatic; leaves simple, toothed; inflorescence of axillary verticillasters, widely spaced, with 2-16 flowers per verticillaster; bracts leaf-like; bracteoles small, patent; flowers with curved pedicels; calyx 2-lipped, 5-lobed (3/2), ± campanulate, lobes upcurved, ciliate, posterior lip with lobes very short, lower lip with lobes long-triangular, tube 13-nerved; corolla 2-lipped, hairy, white, cream or reddish, posterior lip shorter, with lobe rounded and emarginate, anterior lip with median lobe semiorbicular, deflexed, lateral lobes very small, ± triangular, corolla-tube dilated at throat; stamens 4, didynamous, exserted from tube, anterior pair longer, filaments ± straight, thecae divergent, confluent at base; stigma-lobes subulate, subequal; nutlets ovoid, smooth, mucilaginous.  2n = 32, 34, 64.  Four species, usually in forests, Europe, N Africa, Macaronesia and Asia.  Plants used as a source of essential oils, both medicinally and as flavouring.

Distribution

Native to:

12 Southwestern Europe
13 Southeastern Europe
32 Middle Asia
33 Caucasus
34 Western Asia
36 China
38 Eastern Asia
40 Indian Subcontinen
41 Indo-China
42 Malesia

Introduced in:

10 Northern Europe
11 Middle Europe
14 Eastern Europe
20 Northern Africa
21 Macaronesia
50 Australia
51 New Zealand
71 Western Canada
72 Eastern Canada
73 Northwestern U.S.A.
74 North-Central U.S.A.
75 Northeastern U.S.A.
76 Southwestern U.S.A.
77 South-Central U.S.A.
78 Southeastern U.S.A.
85 Southern South America

Synonyms

Mutelia Gren. ex Mutel, Fl. Franē. 3: 21 (1836).

Publication

Melissa L., Sp. Pl. 2: 592 (1753).

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Species found in RBG Kew living collections

1994-2690 Melissa officinalis     111 08   :  111 21   :  111 SEED 
2007-1990 Melissa officinalis 'Aurea'  HIGD   111 03   :  111 12 
2000-3163 Melissa officinalis subsp. altissima N USBG   157 17
 

Image resource

© Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew