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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Lamiids
Ordo: Lamiales

Familia: Lamiaceae
Subfamilia: Nepetoideae
Tribus: Mentheae
Subtribus: Salviinae
Genus: Melissa
Species: M. axillaris – M. flava – M. officinalis – M. yunnanensis

Melissa L. (1753)

Type species: Melissa officinalis L.


Mutelia Gren. ex Mutel, Fl. Franç. Herbor. 3: 21. 1836.


Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum 2: 592.
Drew, B.T. & Systema, K.J. 2011. Testing the Monophyly and Placement of Lepechinia in the Tribe Mentheae (Lamiaceae). Systematic Botany 36(4): 1038–1049. DOI: 10.1600/036364411X605047 PDF Reference page. Places this genus in Salviinae.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2014. Melissa in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2014 July 4. Reference page. 2014. Melissa. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2014 July 4.
International Plant Names Index. 2014. Melissa. Published online. Accessed: July 4 2014.

Vernacular names
беларуская: меліса
български: маточина
català: Melissa
čeština: Meduňka
Deutsch: Melisse
English: Lemon Balm
español: Melisa, toronjil
suomi: Melissat
français: Mélisse
italiano: Melissa
日本語: レモンバーム
lietuvių: Melisa
latviešu: Melisa
português: Erva cidreira
русский: мелисса

Melissa is a genus of perennial herbs in the Lamiaceae, native to Europe and Asia but cultivated and naturalized in many other places.[1][2][3][4] The name Melissa is derived from the Greek word μέλισσα (mélissa) meaning "honeybee", owing to the abundance of nectar in the flowers. The stems are square, like most other plants in the mint family. The leaves are borne in opposite pairs on the stems, and are usually ovate or heart-shaped and emit a lemony scent when bruised. Axillary spikes of white or yellowish flowers appear in the summer.

The most commonly grown species of this genus is Melissa officinalis, commonly known in the United States as lemon balm,[5] and as balm in England.[6]


Melissa axillaris (Benth.) Bakh.f. - China (incl. Tibet + Taiwan), Himalayas, Indochina, Sumatra, Java
Melissa flava Benth. ex Wall. - Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Himalayas of northern + Eastern India
Melissa officinalis L. - Mediterranean, southwestern + central Asia from Portugal + Morocco to Tajikistan; naturalized in northern Europe, New Zealand, United States, Canada, southern South America
Melissa yunnanensis C.Y.Wu & Y.C.Huang - Tibet, Yunnan


They are very frost hardy plants which prefer full sun or light shade if summers are hot. They are quick growing. M. officinalis has become naturalised in many parts of the world.

Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
Flora of China Vol. 17 Page 225 蜜蜂花属 mi feng hua shu Melissa Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 592. 1753.
Altervista Flora Italiana, genere Melissa includes range maps for Europe and North America
Biota of North America Program 2013 county distribution map for Melissa officinalis
Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, Inc. 1987. p. 355.
Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Balm" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

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