Multidisciplinary research on the Lamiaceae and its close relatives: taxonomic revisions for much-needed tropical Floras; conservation assessments; sequencing specific regions of the genome to investigate the affinities of groups within the family; analysing species for biologically active compounds; maintaining displays of horticulturally important genera.
The Lamiaceae, or mint family, is the seventh largest flowering plant family with about 7,500 species organised into 236 genera, including herbs, shrubs, trees and even woody climbers. Many are of horticultural or economic importance, including culinary herbs such as basil (Ocimum), fragrant oils such as lavender (Lavandula), and important timber trees such as teak (Tectona grandis). Lamiaceae are also widely used in traditional medicine. The Lamiaceae is therefore a significant component of global plant diversity, particularly in the drylands of the tropics.
The Lamiaceae team’s objective is to gain a deeper insight into the family and its close relatives through high quality research in collaboration with a wider international network, thereby generating a greater understanding of the diversity, utility and conservation needs of this important plant group. Through capacity building, the publication of our research findings, and the development of online tools, the Lamiaceae team aims to share its outputs with a wider audience.
The multidisciplinary work of the Lamiaceae team includes displays of horticulturally important genera, writing accounts for much-needed tropical Floras, sequencing specific regions of the genome to investigate the affinities of groups within the family, and analysing members of the family for biologically active compounds, ensuring their sustainable use. The tropical tribe Ocimeae (basil and allies) provided a focus for activities over the last ten years. Current major focus areas are the subfamily Viticoideae (teak, Vitex and its allies), Southeast Asian floristics, and the medicinally and horticulturally important genus Salvia. The World Checklist of Lamiaceae and Verbenaceae, covering 7,550 species of Lamiaceae and 1005 Verbenaceae is maintained by the team, as well as the Interactive Key to the Genera of Lamiaceae.