Common Balm

Melissa officinalis Lamiaceae

Other names

Bee Balm, Lemon Balm, Sweet Balm

Growth habit




Native distribution

Southern Europe; Naturalized Elsewhere in Europe and in Eastern U.S.A.

Biocultural value

Aromatic foliage is used to scent the inside of hives to keep bees from swarming. Rubbed on the skin, it is said to prevent bee stings.Leaves impart a refreshing lemon-mint flavor to hot or cold drinks.


Robison Herb Garden

Source of plant

Audry O'Connor


Upright pubescent perennial reaching 2' in height. Leaves broadly ovate, often cordate, 1" to 3" long,crenate-serrate, petioled, lemon-scented; verticillasters 4- to 12-flowered, calyx to 1/4" long, teeth mucronate, lower teeth longer, corolla about 1/2" long, white; summer-blooming.

USDA Hardiness Zone


Special characteristics

fragrance, medicinal/pharmaceutical, other ethnobotanical uses, bee plant