Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis), Herb Garden, St. Andrew's-Sewanee

Lemon balm plant showing neat, symmetrical growth, gently-serrated leaves, oppositely arranged, light green in colorView Full Resolution

This photo shows the typical growth habit and appearance of the lemon balm plant, Melissa officinalis. Note the symmetrical growth, typical for mint family plants, with opposite leaves and opposite-branching stems. The leaves have a distinctive texture, slightly hairy, but less hairy than wooly mint (Mentha suaveolens).

The growth habit is clump forming and the plant is less upright and leggy than most mints. Individual clumps often expand but do not spread as aggressively by runners and stems rooting as many mints do. By contrast, this plant is more likely to spread aggressively by seed.

This image is featured in our article on Lemon Balm.

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Alex Zorach

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Joined Sep. 1st, 2009.

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© Datkins (Wikimedia Commons)

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CC BY 3.0