L., Sp. Pl. 592 (1753).
Derivation: Greek melissa, a bee; one of the plants in this family much frequented by bees.
Synonymy: Not Applicable
Common name: None
Perennial herbs with quadrangular branches, with simple hairs often gland-tipped; leaves petiolate, opposite, coarsely serrate.
Inflorescence a thyrse with sessile cymose part-inflorescences forming dense clusters around the nodes and with elongated internodes between them, with bracts leaf-like and longer than the part-inflorescences which they subtend; sepals unequally connate, 2-lipped, with a dorsal lip with 3 broad lobes, with an anterior lip deeply 2-lobed; corolla 2-lipped, with a posterior lip short and broad, 2-lobed, with an anterior lip broadly oblong with 2 lateral lobes and scarcely longer central one; stamens 4 fertile, inserted in about the throat of the corolla; anthers with 2 cells fertile and strongly diverging so that they are above one another in a vertical line, exserted; ovary deeply 4-lobed, with each locule with one basal ovule, with a gynobasic style and a terminal 2-fid stigma.
Fruit usually with 4 mericarps each oblong-ovoid, without keels, with the attachment scar almost circular, basal. 3 species widespread in Europe and into central Asia; 1 species naturalised in Australia.
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