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Common Name: Bastard Balm
Melittis melissophyllum is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.30 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
Central and southern Europe, including Britain.
Hedges, scrub and mountain woods[
Succeeds in any good soil in partial shade[
]. Prefers a rich loam[
]. Grows well in thickets, woodland edges and the garden border[
Plants are hardy to about -20°c[
The flowers have a pleasing sweet honey-like scent[
The leaves become sweetly fragrant as they dry[
], they retain their fragrance for a long time[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
A coumarin scented (like new-mown hay) herb, it is occasionally used for making a 'Maiwein' or 'Maibowle' type of beverage[
Astringent, blood purifier, diuretic, emmenagogue, sedative, vulnerary[
Mint species are usually good bee and butterfly attractant plants, supplying them with good quality pollen and nectar[
Mints are usually quite aromatic plants and they make good companions for cabbages and tomatoes, their aromatic nature helping to repel insect pests..
Seed - best sown in a cold frame in the autumn[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
Division in spring[
] or autumn[
]. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.