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The distinctive lemon scent of Melissa officinalis is the inspiration behind its common name, the Lemon Balm, but its other attributes successfully attract plaudits too. A pushy perennial, its mid-green foliage comprises heavily veined, broadly ovate and scalloped leaves. Once crushed, these leaves emit a lemony aroma, and can be added to refreshing drinks for extra taste. In summer, it produces long, thin stems with pale purple floral spikes on top. Boasting a bushy habit, the Lemon Balm is ideal as groundcover, while its preference for moist but well drained soil makes it ideally suited for beds and borders. Pruning away dead heads after flowering helps curtail is vigorous spread.
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