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Bastard Balm  or as it is known in France, Mélitte à feuilles de mélisse, and the scientific name is  (Melittis melissophyllum)

Bastard Balm (Melittis melissophyllum) May-July

Bastard Balm (Melittis melissophyllum) May-July


This plant is in the large group of plants known as the Labiates, which means that the flower has a lip. It is quite similar to White dead nettle except that the flowers are much bigger and they have a pink coloured lip.  The plant is quite rare in GB as this is at the northern limit of its range. I have never seen it in GB but it is supposed to be locally common in Devon. In France I have seen it in several places, most often along shady roadsides. You can buy it as a garden perennial and various cultivar exist, there is an all white one B balmwhich is ‘allwright’ but I do not think it is as attractive as the wild version and you can also get one which has a more violet lip, should you wish.

The scientific name relates to Melitta which is Greek for bee and is a reference to this species being particularly favoured by honey bees. Also the Genus Melittis only has one member which is this plant, it is quite rare for a genus to only have one species in it. The genus Homo only has one member ie sapien, however in the past it did have other members like Homo erectus.

For other flowers of the month click the link below, previously in May it was Bulbous Buttercup in 2012 and Common Sorrel in 2013.


To identify other flowers from this region click…