Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a perennial herbaceous plant in the mint family and native to south-central Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, Iran, and Central Asia, but now naturalised elsewhere. It grows to a maximum height of 1 m (3 ft 3 in). The leaves have a mild lemon scent. During summer, small white flowers full of nectar appear. It is not to be confused with bee balm (genus Monarda), although the white flowers attract bees, hence the genus Melissa (Greek for “honey bee”).
The leaves are used as an herb, in teas and also as a flavouring. The plant is used to attract bees for honey production. It is grown as an ornamental plant and for its oil (to use in perfumery). Lemon balm has been cultivated at least since the 16th century.