Mint and lemon balm – what are the differences?
I was always sure that mint grows in our garden. Once a neighbor came to visit, I treated her to tea with fragrant herb. So she assures that it is melissa. Tell me how mint differs from lemon balm?
Despite the fact that both plants belong to the same genus Yasnotkovyh, mint and lemon balm are completely different crops. Mint is more common, it has up to 25 species, the most famous of which is peppermint. But lemon balm has only 5 varieties, while in garden plots mainly medicinal lemon balm grows.
Remembering how mint differs from lemon balm is not at all difficult. It is enough just to take a closer look at the bushes, and it will become clear that the main differences between plants are:
- in the form of a bush, leaves and inflorescences;
- in the color of flowers and leaves;
- in flavor.
In addition, scented herbs have different cultivation requirements, and their essential oils have exactly the opposite effect when consumed..
Differences in the shape of the bushes
Melissa grows as a beautiful bush, since the stem branches well, and can reach up to 1.5 in height, although usually in garden conditions these are compact lush bushes up to 80 cm.Numerous shoots have rather large, rounded leaves. During flowering, lemon balm produces small flowers in the form of false rings, no more than 8 inflorescences in each.
In mint, the stem is erect, although it is also quite tall: under natural conditions there are meter varieties, but homemade mint has an average height of 50 cm.The shape of the leaves of mint is oval, and the inflorescences are in the form of an ear with small flowers.
Both mint and lemon balm form the same seeds – 4 pieces in one box, however, while lemon balm does this annually, fruiting in mint is quite rare.
Differences in color
Mint leaves, a rich green color with small villi, are attached to the shoot with short petioles, and in lemon balm the shade of the leaf plate is lighter and velvety is more pronounced.
As for the inflorescences, the color of lemon balm is dominated by delicate, light shades of lilac and blue, and the ears of mint are bright, purple, color.
Individual smell and action of plants
The easiest way to tell the difference between mint and lemon balm is to pluck the leaf and rub it a little between your fingers. Mint smells like menthol, its oils serve as a wonderful tonic for the body and fill it with energy.
The aroma of lemon balm is more spicy and gives off lemon notes. Unlike “vigorous” mint, it has a calming effect.
Bees actively flock to the smell of lemon balm, so it is used as a honey plant for sowing near apiaries..
Plant requirements for growing conditions
Mint in relation to the climate is more unpretentious, it grows well almost throughout the entire territory, and even in Siberia. A favorite place for grass in natural conditions is on the banks of the river under the sun, therefore, in home cultivation of mint, it is necessary to provide abundant watering and a well-lit place.
But lemon balm does not like too moist soils and grows better in the southern regions, where it is warm and dry. Compact bushes develop well and retain their shape even in partial shade.