Bastard Balm - Melittis melissophyllum

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Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14
Bastard Balm - Melittis melissophyllum

About 5 years ago I bought this plant from a nursery in Vermont, Melittis melissophyllum, not having a clue as to what to expect with this unfamiliar item. It has flowered reliably each year, and I find it a delightful aromatic plant with showy over-sized white mint blooms. It is a member of the mint family or Lamiaceae. I haven't bothered to learn more about this plant until I googled it today. Apparently is is a widespread and highly variable European plant, found all the way to Turkey. My plant appears to be an "alba" form, as most forms have a pink lip, and some are dramatically colored near red, such as in the cultivar Melittis melissophyllum 'Royal Velvet Distinction':
http://www.heronswood.com/product/melittis-melissophyllum-royal-velvet/

Doing a google image search reveals considerable variation... now I want to grow more forms of this plant.
http://www.google.com/search?q=Melittis+melissophyllum&hl=en&biw=1272&bih=801&prmd=ivns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=avLqTZupH8zTgQfozazYCQ&ved=0CCoQsAQ

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melittis_melissophyllum

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Very attractive, both yours and the bicoloured forms!  Do you collect seed?  ;)

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Barstow
Barstow's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-08-27

Wow! Great shot. My (bicoloured) plant has never been quite so floriferous - I should maybe give it some sustainance! Also shown a post-flowering shot of ssp. albida in the Copenhagen botanics. Sometimes used as a flavouring in drinks.

Stephen Barstow
Malvik, Norway
63.4N
Age: Lower end of the 20-25,000 day range

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

Its nice to see this plant - it grows in Britain but I've never seen it in its native setting. It has been a lovely plant in the garden, flowering later than its relative Lamium orvala and not self-seeding with such freedom, but showing quite a bit of variation. It is a very popular nursery plant, and it is easy to see why, it has that understated charm about it.

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.
 

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Skulski wrote:

Very attractive, both yours and the bicoloured forms!  Do you collect seed?   ;)

Funny how one likes what one doesn't have, so of course I am desirous of the pink or purple-lipped two-tone forms! :rolleyes:  Although this clean white form is very attractive and shows up well in the garden.  Regarding seed, I never noticed, but this spring I found one seedling in the spot where I used to have this plant, where it sulked in a spot too dry and sunny.  The foliage has a pleasing light aromatic scent.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Booker
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Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-30

As seen in the Picos de Europa in late May this year ...

Melittis melissophyllum

Cliff Booker A.K.A. Ranunculus
On the moors in Lancashire, U.K.
Usually wet, often windy, sometimes cold ... and that's just me!

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Nice to see the rosy-purple lipped form.  Any insight into the common name?

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

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