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Lemon Balm leaf

Melissa officinalis (Labiatae)

Habitat and appearance: Previously a native to Southern Europe, it is now naturalised over most of Britain. Like all Labiatae, it has a square stem. It is a perennial with a short root stock. Its branchy stems grow 30-60cm high and die down in the winter. Its tiny pairs of ovate leaves produce the strongest lemon smell of the plant, while its white-yellow bunches of tiny flowers bloom from June to October.

Garden suitability: Balm grows incredibly easily in any soil but it particularly enjoys a moist, slightly shady situation; it sets seed quite freely, otherwise it can be root-divided in autumn (October). If you are a bee lover, this is a good choice.


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