Weed of the Week #11 – Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis: Lamiaceae)

 

This week I chose the weed that is the most common in my garden, Lemon balm. The reason for it being the most common is because it is the least likely weed to be pulled out and thrown in the compost. I don’t like to get rid of it because it makes a delicious tea that is very relaxing (check out uses below).

Where It’s From: southern Europe and the Mediterranean region

Where It’s Found: It can be found over most of the U.S. and Europe

Where To Find It: Most often found in or near gardens

 

Uses: It is most often used for its lemon flavoring. Its flavor is used in ice creams, herbal teas, and even pestos. Its tea is very soothing: it is both antiviral and antibacterial while calming muscles and numbing tissues.

How to Identify:  It can be quite hard to identify Lemon balm just by looking at it. It looks a lot like bee balm and other mint family plants (look for a square stem). The best way to identify it is to rub it; if it has a slightly hairy leaf and smells like lemons, it probably is lemon balm.

Final Note: Please check out our Weeds of NYC Mission on Project Noah. Join it and send in your weeds!

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