Melissa officinalis L.

Lemon Balm

Sp. Pl. 592 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Shrubby, lemon-scented herb to c. 60 cm high; stems with dense short and sparse long hairs, with some sessile and stalked glands. Leaves broadly ovate to rhombic, 1.5–8 cm long, 1–6 cm wide, indumentum as for stems but long hairs rather coarse, apex obtuse or acute, margin crenate-serrate; petiole 1–4 cm long. Flowers 4–12 per pseudowhorl, shortly pedicellate. Calyx 7–9 mm long with indumentum as for stems but short hairs less dense, teeth of abaxial lip c. as long as tube, those of adaxial lip c. 1 mm long; corolla white (yellowish in bud), sometimes ageing to pink, 8–15 mm long, tube exceeding calyx, abaxial lip slightly longer than adaxial, lobes pubescent outside. Mericarps c. 3 mm long. Flowers Nov.–Feb.

*CVU, *EGU, *GipP, *Glep, *HNF, *HSF, *OtP, *Strz, *VVP. Also naturalised SA, NSW, Tas. Native to southern Europe. Commonly cultivated as an aromatic herb, noted as naturalized, mostly near watercourses, at e.g. Gorae West, Creswick, LaTrobe Valley, Wonnangatta River valley, Murrindal etc.

Source: Conn, B.J. (1999). Lamiaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 4, Cornaceae to Asteraceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Daniel Ohlsen, 2017-06-14
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Asteranae
order Lamiales
family Lamiaceae
genus Melissa
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Melissa officinalis in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Melissa officinalis in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Glenelg Plain present naturalised
Victorian Volcanic Plain present introduced
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Otway Plain present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
East Gippsland Uplands present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised
Highlands-Northern Fall present naturalised
Strzelecki Ranges present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory