|Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)|
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lamiaceae or Labiatae, also known as the Mint family, is a family of plants in about 210 genera and some 3,500 species. It has been considered closely related to Verbenaceae but several recent phylogenetic studies have shown that numererous genera classified in Verbenaceae belong instead in Lamiaceae, whereas the core genera of Verbenaceae are not closely related to Lamiaceae and are more closely related to other members of the Lamiales.
The plants are frequently aromatic in all parts and include many widely used culinary herbs, such as basil, mint, rosemary, sage, savory, marjoram, oregano, thyme, lavender, and perilla. Some are shrubs, but rarely trees or vines. Many members of the family are widely cultivated, owing not only to their aromatic qualities but also their ease of cultivation: these plants are among the easiest plants to propagate by stem cuttings. Besides those grown for their edible leaves, some are grown for decorative foliage, such as coleus. Others are grown for food purposes, but seeds are utilized instead of leaves, such as with chia.
The original family name is Labiatae, so given because the flowers typically have petals fused into an upper lip and a lower lip. Although this is still considered an acceptable alternate name, most botanists now use the name "Lamiaceae" in referring to this family.
The leaves emerge oppositely, each pair at right angles to the previous one (called decussate) or whorled.
The stems are frequently square in cross section, but this is not found in all members of the family, and is sometimes found in other plant families.
The flowers are bilaterally symmetrical with 5 united petals, 5 united sepals. They are usually bisexual and verticillastrate (a flower cluster that looks like a whorl of flowers but actually consists of two crowded clusters).
- Lamiaceae in L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz (1992 onwards). The families of flowering plants: descriptions, illustrations, identification, information retrieval. http://delta-intkey.com
- Lamiaceae images
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