Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Melissa officinalis
L., Lamiaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: xiang feng hua

English: balm, bee balm, common balm, lemon balm, melissa

French: mélisse officinale

Spanish: citraria, toronjil

Habit:  herb

Description:  "Stems ± erect, pyramidally much branched, pubescent, base glabrescent. Petiole slender, 0.5-2 (-4) cm; leaf blade ovate, 1-5 (-6.5) x 0.8-4 (-5) cm, ± membranous or herbaceous, adaxially villous, abaxially villous along veins, base rounded to subcordate rarely obtuse or acute, margin serrate-crenate to obtusely serrate, apex acute to obtuse. Verticillasters 2-14-flowered, short pedunculate; bracts leaflike, much smaller than leaves, villous, ciliate. Pedicel ca. 4 mm. Calyx campanulate, ca. 8 mm, villous outside, villous inside apically; upper lip short 3-denticulate or ± undulate, teeth with short erect apices; lower lip slightly longer than upper, teeth narrowly triangular, apex spinescent. Corolla creamy white, 1.2-1.3 cm, villous outside; upper lip emarginate; middle lobe of lower lip obliquely spreading, rounded"  (Flora of China online).

"Rhizomatous, lemon-scented herb with branched puberulent stems ascending to c. 60 cm. Leaves and bracts petiolate. Lamina 2-8.5 x 1-7 cm, elliptic to broad-ovate, hairy, sometimes only sparsely hairy above, prominently crenate-serrate; base ± truncate in larger lower leaves, cuneate in upper smaller leaves and bracts. Verticels generally 3-10-flowered. Calyx c. 8 mm long; nerves prominent, with long, white, pilose hairs; upper teeth broad-triangular, aristate; lower narrow-triangular, aristate. Corolla 12-15 mm long, white; lobes hairy outside. Nutlets 1.7-2 mm long, almost black"  (Webb et al., 1988; p. 777).

Habitat/ecology:  In New Zealand, "Forest margins, scrub and open plantations near roadsides and waste places"  (Webb et al., 1988; p. 777).  In Australia, "grows in moist areas, particularly of creeks and drainage lines, often growing vigorously in gardens"  (NSW PlantNET).

Propagation:  Seed

Native range:  Canary and Madeira Islands, northern Africa, Europe, western Asia; widely cultivated in temperate regions (GRIN).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
invasive
Atkinson, Rachel/Sawyer, John (2011)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
invasive
Danton, Philippe/Perrier, Christophe/Martinez Reyes, Guido (2006) (p. 555)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más Afuera (Alejandro Selkirk Island) introduced
invasive
Atkinson, Rachel/Sawyer, John (2011)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más Afuera (Alejandro Selkirk Island) introduced
invasive
Danton, Philippe/Perrier, Christophe/Martinez Reyes, Guido (2006) (p. 555)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
San Cristóbal Group
San Cristóbal Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Santa Cruz Group
Santa Cruz Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
New South Wales introduced
invasive
National Herbarium of New South Wales (2013)
Canada (British Colombia)
Province of British Columbia
Canada (British Columbia) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
China
China
China (People's Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
Japan
Japan
Japan (country) introduced
Mito, Toshikazu/Uesugi, Tetsuro (2004) (p. 188)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
invasive
Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. (1988) (p. 777)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (Oregon) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (California) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (Washington) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Canada (except British Colombia)
Canada
Canada (country) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
United States (other states) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

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This page was created on 12 FEB 2011 and was last updated on 7 MAR 2011.