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Chinese Plant Names | Family List | Labiatae | Melissa

Melissa officinalis Linn.


Description from Flora of China

Stems ± erect, pyramidally much branched, pubescent, base glabrescent. Petiole slender, 0.5-2(-4) cm; leaf blade ovate, 1-5(-6.5) × 0.8-4(-5) cm, ± membranous or herbaceous, adaxially villous, abaxially villous along veins, base rounded to subcordate rarely obtuse or acute, margin serrate-crenate to obtusely serrate, apex acute to obtuse. Verticillasters 2-14-flowered, short pedunculate; bracts leaflike, much smaller than leaves, villous, ciliate. Pedicel ca. 4 mm. Calyx campanulate, ca. 8 mm, villous outside, villous inside apically; upper lip short 3-denticulate or ± undulate, teeth with short erect apices; lower lip slightly longer than upper, teeth narrowly triangular, apex spinescent. Corolla creamy white, 1.2-1.3 cm, villous outside; upper lip emarginate; middle lobe of lower lip obliquely spreading, rounded. Fl. Jun-Aug.

Used for flavoring salads, soups, and liqueurs. Oil employed in perfumery; commonly known as balm tea; a home remedy sometimes used for headaches and toothaches.

Cultivated in China [Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan; Africa, SW Asia, Europe]


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