Small-Flowered Melissa
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Small-Flowered Melissa
P Native Photo: Ashutosh Sharma
Common name: Small-Flowered Melissa • Nepali: लोमई Lomai
Botanical name: Melissa axillaris    Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)
Synonyms: Melissa longifolia, Melissa parviflora

Small-Flowered Melissa is an erect, branched herb, 60-100 cm tall, velvet-hairy. Leaf-stalks are 0.2-2.5 cm; leaf blades ovate, 1.2-6 x 0.9-3 cm, herbaceous, purplish along midrib, sparsely velvet-hairy to nearly hairless, base nearly heart-shaped to wedge-shaped, margin sawtoothed-rounded toothed, tip pointed or short tapering to rounded. Flowers are in widely spaced whorls; bracteoles nearly linear, fringed with hairs. Flower-stalks are about 2 mm, calyx 6-8 mm, horizontally projected, hairy outside, hairless inside, teeth of upper lip pointed; lower lip almost as long as upper lip, teeth lanceshaped. Flowers are white or reddish, about 1 cm, velvet-hairy, tube slightly protruding, upper lip notched, lower lip spreading. Anterior stamens do not protrude out. Small-Flowered Melissa is found on hills, valleys in the Himalayas at altitudes of 600-2800 m. It is found in the Himalayas from Garhwal eastwards to Nepal, Bhutan, China and SE Asia. Flowering: June-November.
Medicinal uses: Small-Flowered Melissa is used medicinally for dysentery and snake bites; also used as an essence in hair oil. It is used as a substitute for Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis).

Identification credit: Ashutosh Sharma Photographed in Kullu Distt., Himachal Pradesh.

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